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SLoniron: FETTER LANE, E.G. 


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Edited by 

Sometime Scholar of Trinity College 

Cambridge : 
at the University Press 






edition of Paradise Lost \s> based on the smaller 
1 editions edited by me for the Pitt Press Series and 
issued between the years 1892 and 1896. All the editorial 
matter has been set up afresh and much of it recast ; and 
a considerable amount of fresh material has been added. 

I desire to repeat with emphasis the acknowledgment 
made in my earlier editions of my great indebtedness to 
previous editors. It is a pious pleasure to make special 
mention of the immortal labours of Todd and Masson ; nor 
should Newton and Keightley be forgotten. An editor is 
powerless to estimate what he owes to them (above all, to 
Masson), and to others who have wrestled with the 
allusions of a poem that for its full elucidation would ex- 
haust the last resources of scholarship. Some specific items, 
however, of my own obligations may be recorded here, 
while many instances are indicated in the course of the 

The text is founded on that of Masson's "Globe" 
edition, but with a simpler system of punctuation, such 
as I thought might be in rather closer conformity with the 


Nearly all the biblical and classical references given in 
this volume have been pointed out by, and taken from, 
other editors. 


A large proportion of the Milton references had their 
origin in the Concordance to Milton's poems by the 
American student Cleveland, a work of immense labour 
and great accuracy which has never, I think, received its 
due. I may mention in passing that, to prevent miscon- 
ception, I avoided consulting at all the Milton Lexicon 
published recently by another American student. On the 
other hand, I have used with much profit the scholarly and 
exhaustive dictionary of The Classical Mythology of Milton's 
English Poems, by Mr C. G. Osgood, one of those fine 
studies in English literature for which we have to thank the 
University of Yale. 

The extracts from the Milton MSS. are quoted (without, 
of course, any modernisation) from the beautiful facsimile 
published by the University Press, under the editorship of 
the Vice-Master of Trinity College. The textual variations 
are shown so simply by the editor's very ingenious typo- 
graphical arrangement that the work of collating is practically 
done away. 

The extracts from Milton's prose works are taken from 
the edition published in "Bonn's Standard Library." Apart 
from my general indebtedness to this edition, I must note 
that its footnotes are the source of many of my references to 
Milton's Christian Doctrine. 

All the translations of passages from Dante, and most of 
the Dante information, come from the editions of the 
"Temple" series. Except in a few specified cases, the 
passages are such as had struck me. 

The etymological material of the Glossary, together with 
a great deal of other miscellaneous information throughout 
the volume, is summarised from standard works of reference. 
Unfortunately, in attempting to edit a vast work like 
Paradise Lost, one has to "get up" all sorts of subjects 


outside the scope of one's own circumscribed interests, and 
this rather involves the affectation of knowledge. 

I owe not a little to the suggestions and criticisms of 
many unknown correspondents; and in going through 
examination-answers I have sometimes come across things 
that I was very glad to make a note of which is not 
surprising, now that English is taught so well in many 
schools. I recollect that the note on n. 497~ 5 02 came in 
a schoolboy's answer. 

The Indexes, apart from some expansion of the second, 
were compiled for me at the University Press; and it is a 
very great satisfaction to express my gratitude to the reader, 
or readers, of the Press whose vigilance over the proof- 
sheets has -saved me from many slips. 

I hope now that I have made adequate acknowledgment 
of my obligations; and perhaps it will not be undue egotism 
to add that in the course of twenty years of editing one 
necessarily accumulates a good deal of material and mis- 



November 16, 1909. 





NOTES 363658 

APPENDIX . 659692 

GLOSSARY 693724 

INDEXES 725750 

P. L. 



MILTON'S life falls into three clearly defined divisions. The 
first period ends with the poet's return from Italy in 1639; the 
second at the Restoration in 1660, when release from the fetters 
of politics enabled him to remind the world that he was a great 
poet ; the third is brought to a close with his death in 1674. 
Paradise Lost belongs to the last of these periods ; but we 
propose to summarise briefly the main events of all three. 

John Milton was born on December 9, 1608, in London. He 
came, in his own words, ex genere honesto. A family of Miltons 
had been settled in Oxfordshire since the reign of Elizabeth. 
The poet's father had been educated at an Oxford school, possibly 
as a chorister in one of the College choir-schools, and imbibing 
Anglican sympathies had conformed to the Established Church. 
For this he was disinherited by his Roman Catholic father. He 
settled in London, following the profession of scrivener. A 
scrivener combined the occupations of lawyer and law-stationer. 
It appears to have been a lucrative calling ; certainly John Milton 
(the poet was named after the father) attained to easy circum- 
stances. He married about 1600, and had six children, of 
whom several died young. The third child was the poet. 

The elder Milton was evidently a man of considerable 
culture, in particular an accomplished musician, and a com- 
poser whose madrigals were deemed worthy of being printed 
side by side with those of Byrd, Orlando Gibbons and other 
leading musicians of the time. To him, no doubt, the poet 
owed the love of music of which we see frequent indications in 


the poems 1 . Realising, too, that in his son lay the promise 
and possibility of future greatness, John Milton took the utmost 
pains to have the boy adequately educated ; and the lines Ad 
Patrem show that the ties of affection between father and child 
were of more than ordinary closeness. 

Milton was sent to St Paul's School about the year 1620. 
Here two influences, apart from those of ordinary school-life, may 
have affected him particularly. The headmaster was a good 
English scholar ; he published a grammar containing many 
extracts from English poets, notably Spenser ; it is reasonable 
to assume that he had not a little to do with the encouragement 
and guidance of Milton's early taste for English poetry 2 . Also, 
the founder of St Paul's School, Colet, had prescribed as part 
of the school-course the study of certain early Christian writers, 
whose influence is said to be directly traceable in Milton's poems 
and may in some cases have suggested his choice of sacred 
themes 2 . While at St Paul's, Milton also had a tutor at home, 
Thomas Young, a Scotchman, afterwards an eminent Puritan 
divine the inspirer, doubtless, of much of his pupil's Puritan 
sympathies. And Milton enjoyed the signal advantage of 
growing up in the stimulating atmosphere of cultured home-life. 
Most men do not realise that the word 'culture' signifies 
anything very definite or desirable before they pass to the 
University; for Milton, however, home-life meant, from the 
first, not only broad interests and refinement, but active 
encouragement towards literature and study. In 1625 he left 
St Paul's. Of his extant English poems 3 only one, On the 

1 Milton was very fond of the organ; see // Penseroso, 161, note. 
During his residence at Horton Milton made occasional journeys to 
London to hear, and obtain instruction (probably from Henry Lawes) 
in, music. It was an age of great musical development. See "Milton's 
Knowledge of Music" by Mr W. H. Hadow, in Milton Memorial 
Ledtirts (1908). 

2 See the paper "Milton as Schoolboy and Schoolmaster" by 
Mr A. F. Leach, read before the British Academy, Dec. 10, 1908. 

3 His paraphrases of Psalms cxiv. cxxxvi. scarcely come under this 
heading. Aubrey says in his quaint Life of Milton: "Anno Domini 
1619 he was ten yeares old, as by his picture [the portrait by Cornelius 
Jansen] : and was then a poet." 


Death of a Fair Infant, dates from his school-days ; but we are 
told that he had written much verse, English and Latin. And 
his early training had done that which was all-important : it had 
laid the foundation of the far-ranging knowledge which makes 
Paradise Lost unique for diversity of suggestion and interest. 

Milton went to Christ's College, Cambridge, in the Easter 
term of 1625, took his B.A. degree in 1629, proceeded M.A. in 
1632, and in the latter year left Cambridge. The popular view 
of Milton's connection with the University will be coloured for 
all time by Johnson's unfortunate story that for some unknown ' 
offence he " suffered the public indignity of corporal correction." 
For various reasons this story is now discredited by the best 
judges. It is certain, however, that early in 1626 Milton did have 
some serious difficulty with his tutor, which led to his removal 
from Cambridge for a few weeks and his transference to another 
tutor on his return later in the term. He spoke of the incident 
bitterly at the time in one of his Latin poems, and he spoke of 
Cambridge bitterly in after years. On the other hand he 
voluntarily passed seven years at the University, and resented 
strongly the imputations brought against him in the " Smectym- 
nuus" controversy that he had been in ill-favour with the 
authorities s ^^4iis_j:ollege. Writing in 1642, he takes the 
opportunity "to acknowledge publicly with all grateful mind, 
that more than ordinary favour and respect, which I found above 
any of my equals at the hands of those courteous and learned 
men, the fellows of that college wherein I spent some years : who 
at my parting, after I had taken two degrees, as the manner is, 
signified many ways how much better it would content them 
that I would stay ; as by many letters full of kindness and loving 
respect, both before that time, and long after, I was assured of 
their singular good affection towards me 1 ." And if we look into 
those uncomplimentary allusions to Cambridge which date from 
the controversial period of his life we see that the feeling they 

1 An Apology for Smectymmms, P. W. III. in. Perhaps Cambridge 
would have been more congenial to Milton had he been sent to Emmanuel 
College, long a centre of Puritanism. Dr John Preston, then Master 
of the college, was a noted leader of the Puritan party. 


represent is hardly more than a phase of his theological bias. 
He detested ecclesiasticism, and for him the two Universities 
(there is a fine impartiality in his diatribes) are the strongholds 
of what he detested : " nurseries of superstition " " not yet well 
recovered from the scholastic grossness of barbarous ages" 
given up to "monkish and miserable sophistry," and unpro- 
gressive in their educational methods. But it may fairly be 
assumed that Milton the scholar and poet, who chose to spend 
seven years at Cambridge, owed to her more than Milton the 
fierce controversialist admitted or knew. A poet he had proved 
himself before leaving the University in 1632. The short but 
exquisite ode At a Solemn Music^ and the Nativity Hymn 
(1629), were already written. 

Milton's father had settled at Horton in Buckinghamshire. 
Thither the son retired in July, 1632. He had gone to Cambridge 
with the intention of qualifying for some profession, perhaps the 
Church 1 : This purpose was soon given up, and when Milton 
returned to his father's house he seems to have made up his 
mind that there was no profession which he cared to enter. He 
would choose the better part of studying and preparing himseli, 
by rigorous self-discipline and application, for the far-off divine 
event to which his whole life moved. 

It was Milton's constant resolve to achieve something that 
should vindicate the ways of God to men, something great that 
should justify his own possession of unique powers powers of 
which, with no trace of egotism, he proclaims himself proudly 
conscious. The feeling finds repeated expression in his prose ; 
it is the guiding-star that shines clear and steadfast even through 
the mists of politics. He has a mission to fulfil, a purpose 
to accomplish, no less than the most fanatic of religious en- 
thusiasts ; and the means whereby this end is to be attained are 

1 Cf. Milton's own words : " the church, to whose service, by the 
intentions of my parents and friends, I was destined of a child, and 
in my own resolutions" (The Reason of Church Government, P. W. 
II. 482). What kept him from taking orders was primarily his 
objection to Church discipline and government : he spoke of himself 
as " Church-outed by the prelates." 


devotion to religion, devotion to learning, and ascetic purity 

of life. 

This period of self-centred isolation lasted from 1632 to 1638. 
Gibbon tells us among the many wise things contained in that 
most wise book the Autobiography, that every man has two 
educations : that which he receives from his teachers and that 
which he owes to himself ; the latter being infinitely the more 
important. During these five years Milton completed his 
second education ; ranging the whole world of classical 1 anti- 
quity and absorbing the classical genius so thoroughly that 
the ancients were to him what they afterwards became to 
Landor, what they have never become to any other English 
poet in the same degree, even as the very breath of his being ; 
pursuing, too, other interests, such as music, astronomy 2 and 
the study of Italian literature; and combining these vast 
and diverse influences into a splendid equipment of hard-won, 
well-ordered culture. The world has known many greater 
scholars in the technical, limited sense than Milton, but few 
men, if any, who have mastered more things worth mastering 
in art, letters and scholarship 3 . It says much for the poet that 

1 He was closely familiar too with post-classical writers like Philo 
and the neo-Platonists ; nor must we forget the mediaeval element in 
his learning, due often to Rabbinical teaching. 

2 Science " natural philosophy," as he terms it is one of the 
branches of study advocated in his treatise On Education. Of his 
early interest in astronomy there is a reminiscence in Paradise Lost, 
II. 70811; where "Milton is not referring to an imaginary comet, 
but to one which actually did appear when he was a boy of 10 (1618), 
in the constellation called Ophiuchus. It was of enormous size, the 
tail being recorded as longer even than that of 1858. It was held 
responsible by educated and learned men of the day for disasters. 
Evelyn says in his diary, 'The effects of that comet, 1618, still working 
in the prodigious revolutions now beginning in Europe, especially in 
Germany'" (Professor Ray Lankester). 

3 Milton's poems with their undercurrent of perpetual allusion are 
the best proof of the width of his reading ; but interesting supplementary 
evidence is afforded by the Common-place Book discovered in 1874, and 
printed by the Camden Society, 1876. It contains extracts from about 
80 different authors whose works Milton had studied. The entries seem 
to have been made in the period 163746. 


he was sustained through this period of study, pursued ohne 
Hast, ohne Rast, by the full consciousness that all would be 
crowned by a masterpiece which should add one more testi- 
mony to the belief in that God who ordains the fates of men. 
It says also a very great deal for the father who suffered his 
son to follow in this manner the path of learning. 

True, Milton gave more than one earnest of his future fame. 
The dates of the early pieces D Allegro, II Penseroso, Arcades, 
Counts and Lycidas are not all certain ; but probably each was 
composed at Horton before 1638. Four of them have great 
autobiographic value as an indirect commentary, written from 
Milton's coign of seclusion, upon the moral crisis through which 
English life and thought were passing, the clash between the 
careless hedonism of the Cavalier world and the deepening 
austerity of Puritanism. In LlAllegro the poet holds the 
balance almost equal between the two opposing tendencies. In 
// Penseroso it becomes clear to which side his sympathies are 
leaning. Comus is a covert prophecy of the downfall of the 
Court-party, while Lycidas openly "foretells the mine" of the 
Established Church. The latter poem is the final utterance of 
Milton's lyric genius. Here he reaches, in Mr Mark Pattison's 
words, the high-water mark of English verse ; and then the 
pity of it he resigns that place among the lyrici vates of which 
the Roman singer was ambitious, and for nearly twenty years 
suffers his lyre to hang mute and rusty in the temple of the 

The composition of Lycidas may be assigned to the year 
1637. In the spring of the next year Milton started for Italy. 
It was natural that he should seek inspiration in the land where 
many English poets, from Chaucer to Shelley, have found it. 
Milton remained abroad some fifteen months. Originally he 
had intended to include Sicily and Greece in his travels, but 
news of the troubles in England hastened his return. He was 
brought face to face with the question whether or not he should 
bear his part in the coming struggle ; whether without self- 
reproach he could lead any longer this life of learning and 
indifference to the public weal. He decided as we might have 
expected that he would decide, though some good critics see 


cause to regret the decision. Milton puts his position very 
clearly in his Defensio Secunda : " I thought it base to be 
travelling for amusement abroad, while my fellow-citizens were 
fighting for liberty at home." And later : " I determined to 
relinquish the other pursuits in which I was engaged, and to 
transfer the whole force of my talents and my industry to this 
one important object" (i.e. the vindication of liberty). 

The summer of 1639 (July) found Milton back in England. 
Immediately after his return he wrote the Epitaphium Damonis, 
the beautiful elegy in which he lamented the death of his school 
friend, Diodati. Lytidas was the last of the English lyrics : the 
Epitaphium, which should be studied in close connection with 
Lycidas, the last of the long Latin poems. Thenceforth, for a 
long spell, the rest was silence, so far as concerned poetry. The 
period which for all men represents the strength and maturity 
of manhood, which in the cases of other poets produces the best 
and most characteristic work, is with Milton a blank. In twenty 
years he composed no more than a bare handful of Sonnets, 
and even some of these are infected by the taint of political 
animus. Other interests claimed him the question of Church- 
reform, education, marriage, and, above all, politics. 

Milton's first treatise upon the government of the Church 
(Of Reformation in England} appeared in 1641. Others 
followed in quick succession. The abolition of Episcopacy 
was the watchword of the enemies of the Anglican Church 
the delenda est Carthago cry of Puritanism, and no one 
enforced the point with greater eloquence than Milton. During 
1641 and 1642 he wrote five pamphlets on the subject. Mean- 
while he was studying the principles of education. On his 
return from Italy he had undertaken the training of his 
nephews. This led to consideration of the best educational 
methods ; and in the Tractate of Education, 1644, Milton 
assumed the part of educational theorist. In the previous year, 
May, 1643, ne married 1 . The marriage proved unfortunate. 

1 His wife (who was only seventeen) was Mary Powell, eldest 
daughter of Richard Powell, of Forest Hill, a village some little 
distance from Oxford. She went to stay with her father in July, 


Its immediate outcome was the pamphlets on divorce. Clearly 
he had little leisure for literature proper. 

The finest of Milton's prose works, the Areopagitica, a plea 
for the free expression of opinion, was published in 1644. In 
1645 l appeared the first collection of his poems. In 1649 his 
advocacy of the anti-royalist cause was recognised by the offer 
of a post under the newly appointed Council of State. His bold 
vindication of the trial of Charles I., The Tenure of Kings, had 
appeared earlier in the same year. Milton accepted the offer, 
becoming Latin 2 Secretary to the Committee of Foreign Affairs. 

1643, and refused to return to Milton ; why, it is not certain. She 
was reconciled to her husband in 1645, bore him four children, and 
died in 1652, in her twenty-seventh year. No doubt, the scene in P. L. 
X. 909 36, in which Eve begs forgiveness of Adam, reproduced the 
poet's personal experience, while many passages in Samson Agonistes 
must have been inspired by the same cause. 

1 i.e. old style. The volume was entered on the registers of the 
Stationers' Company under the date of October 6th, 1645. It was 
published on Jan. i, 1645 46, with the following title-page : 

"Poems of Mr. John Milton, both English and Latin^ Composed at 
several times. Printed by his true Copies. The Songs were set in Mustek 
by Mr. Henry Lawes Gentleman of the Kings Chappel, and one of His 
Majesties Private Musick. 

* Baccare front em 

Cingite, ne vati noceat mala lingua futuro.* VlRGIL, Eclog. 7. 
Printed and published according to Order. London, Printed by Rttth 
Raworth for Humphrey Moseley, and are to be sold at the signe of the 
Princes Arms in Pauls Churchyard. 1645." 

From the prefatory Address to the Reader it is clear that the collec- 
tion was due to the initiative of the publisher. Milton's own feeling is 
expressed by the motto, where the words " vatifuturo " show that, as 
he judged, his great achievement was yet to come. The volume was 
divided into two parts, the first containing the English, the second the 
Latin poems. Comus was printed at the close of the former, with a 
separate title-page to mark its importance. The prominence given to 
the name of Henry Lawes reflects Milton's friendship. 

8 A Latin Secretary was required because the Council scorned, as 
Edward Phillips says, "to carry on their affairs in the wheedling, 
lisping jargon of the cringing French." Milton's salary was 288, in 
modern money about 900. 



There was nothing distasteful about his duties. He drew up 
the despatches to foreign governments, translated state-papers, 
and served as interpreter to foreign envoys. Had his duties 
stopped here his acceptance of the post would, I think, have 
proved an unqualified gain. It brought him into contact with the 
first men in the state, gave him a practical insight into the 
working of national affairs and the motives of human action ; in 
a word, furnished him with that experience of life which is 
essential to all poets who aspire to be something more than 
"the idle singers of an empty day." But unfortunately the 
secretaryship entailed the necessity of defending at every turn 
the past course of the revolution and the present policy of the 
Council. Milton, in fact, held a perpetual brief as advocate for 
his party. Hence the endless and unedifying controversies into 
which he drifted ; controversies which wasted the most precious 
years of his life, warped, as some critics think, his nature, and 
eventually cost him his eyesight. 

Between 1649 anc ^ 1660 Milton produced no less than eleven 
pamphlets. Several of these arose out of the publication of the 
famous Eikon Basilike, The book was printed in 1649 and 
created so extraordinary a sensation that Milton was asked to 
reply to it ; and did so with Eikonoklastes. Controversy of this 
barren type has the inherent disadvantage that once started it may 
never end. The Royalists commissioned the Leyden professor, 
Salmasius, to prepare a counterblast, the Defensio Regia, and 
this in turn was met by Milton's Pro Popiilo Anglicano Defensio^ 
1651, over the preparation of which he lost what little power of 
eyesight remained 1 . Salmasius retorted, and died before his 

1 Perhaps this was the saddest part of the episode. Milton tells us 
in the Defensio Secunda that his eyesight was injured by excessive study 
in boyhood : " from twelve years of age I hardly ever left my studies or 
went to bed before midnight." Continual reading and writing increased 
the infirmity, and by 1650 the sight of the left eye had gone. He was 
warned that he must not use the other for book-work. Unfortunately 
this was just the time when the Commonwealth stood most in need of 
his services. If Milton had not written the first Defence he might have 
retained his partial vision, at least for a time. The choice lay between 


second farrago of scurrilities was issued : Milton was bound to 
answer, and the Defensio Secunda appeared in 1654. Neither 
of the combatants gained anything by the dispute ; while the 
subsequent development of the controversy in which Milton 
crushed the Amsterdam pastor and professor, Morus, goes far to 
prove the contention of Mr Mark Pattison, that it was an evil 
day when the poet left his study at Horton to do battle for the 
Commonwealth amid the vulgar brawls of the market-place . 

"Not here, O Apollo, 
Were haunts meet for thee." 

Fortunately this poetic interregnum in Milton's life was not 
destined to last much longer. The Restoration came, a blessing 
in disguise, and in 1660 J the ruin of Milton's political party 
and of his personal hopes, the absolute overthrow of the cause 
for which he had fought for twenty years, left him free. The 
author of Lycidas could once more become a poet. 

Much has been written upon this second period, 1639 60. 
We saw what parting of the ways confronted Milton on his 
return from Italy. Did he choose aright ? Should he have 
continued upon the path of learned leisure ? There are writers 
who argue that Milton made a mistake. A poet, they say, 
should keep clear of political strife : fierce controversy can 
benefit no man : who touches pitch must expect to be, certainly 
will be, defiled : Milton sacrificed twenty of the best years of 
his life, doing work which an underling could have done and 
which was not worth doing : another Comus might have been 
written, a loftier Lycidas : that literature should be the poorer 
by the absence of these possible masterpieces, that the second 

private good and public duty. He repeated in 1650 the sacrifice of 1639. 
All this is brought out in his Second Defence. By the spring of 1652 
Milton was quite blind He was then in his forty-fourth year. Probably 
the disease from which he suffered was amaurosis. See the Appendix 
(pp. 682, 683) on P. L. HI. 22 26. Throughout P. L. and Samson 
Agonistes there are frequent references to his affliction. 

1 Milton probably began Paradise Lost in 1658; but it was not till 
the Restoration in 1660 that he definitely resigned all his political 
hopes, and became quite free to realise his poetical ambition. 


greatest genius which England has produced should in a way 
be the " inheritor of unfulfilled renown," is and must be a thing 
entirely and terribly deplorable. This is the view of the purely 
literary critic. 

There remains the other side of the question. It may fairly 
be contended that had Milton elected in 1639 to live the scholar's 
life apart from " the action of men," Paradise Lost, as we have 
it, or Samson Agonistes could never have been written. Know- 
ledge of life and human nature, insight into the problems oi 
men's motives and emotions, grasp of the broader issues of the 
human tragedy, all these were essential to the author of an epic 
poem ; they could only be obtained through commerce with the 
world ; they would have remained beyond the reach of a recluse. 
Dryden complained that Milton saw nature through the spec- 
tacles of books : we might have had to complain that he saw 
men through the same medium. Fortunately it is not so : and 
it is not so because at the age of thirty-two he threw in his 
fortunes with those of his country ; like the diver in Schiller's 
ballad he took the plunge which was to cost him so dear. The 
mere man of letters will never move the world. ^Cschylus fought 
at Marathon : Shakespeare was practical to the tips of his 
fingers ; a better business man than Goethe there was not 
within a radius of a hundred miles of Weimar. 

This aspect of the question is emphasised by Milton himself. 
The man, he says, " who would not be frustrate of his hope to 
write well hereafter in laudable things, ought himself to be a 
true poem , that is, a composition and pattern of the best and 
honourablest things; not presuming to sing high praises of heroic 
men, or famous cities, unless he have in himself the experience 
and the practice of all that which is praiseworthy 1 ." Again, in 
estimating the qualifications which the writer of an epic such as 
he contemplated should possess, he is careful to include 
"insight into all seemly and generous arts and affairs 2 ." 

Truth usually lies half-way between extremes : perhaps it 
does so here. No doubt, Milton did gain very greatly by 

1 An Apology for Smectymnuus, P. W. in. 118. 
a The Reason of Church Government, P. W. II. 481. 


breathing awhile the larger air of public life, even though 
that air was often tainted by much impurity. No doubt, too, 
twenty years of contention must have left their mark even on 
Milton. In one of the very few places where he " abides our 
question," Shakespeare writes (Sonnet CXI.) : 

"OI for my sake do you with Fortune chide, 
The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds, 
That did not better for my life provide, 
Than public means, which public manners breeds : 
Thence comes it that my name receives a brand ; 
And almost thence my nature is subdued 
To what it works in, like the dyer's hand." 

Milton's genius was subdued in this way. If we compare 
him, the Milton of the great epics and of Samson Agonistes, 
with Homer or Shakespeare and none but the greatest can 
be his parallel we find in him a certain want of humanity, 
a touch of narrowness. He lacks the large-heartedness, the 
genial, generous breadth of Shakespeare ; the sympathy and 
sense of the lacrimce rerum that even in Troilus and Cressida or 
Timon of Athens are there for those who have eyes wherewith 
to see them. Milton reflects in some degree the less gracious 
aspects of Puritanism, its intolerance, want of humour, one-sided 
intensity ; and it seems natural to assume that this narrowness 
was to a great extent the price he paid for twenty years of cease- 
less special pleading and dispute. The real misfortune of his 
life lay in the fact that he fell on evil, angry days when there 
was no place for moderate men. He had to be one of two 
things : either a controversialist or a student : there was no via 
media. Probably he chose aright ; but we could wish that the 
conditions under which he chose had been different. And he 
is so great, so majestic in the nobleness of his life, in the purity 
of his motives, in the self-sacrifice of his indomitable devotion 
to his ideals, that we could wish not even to seem to pronounce 
judgment at all. 

The last part of Milton's life, 1660 74, passed quietly. At 
the age of fifty-two he was thrown back upon poetry, and could 
at length discharge his self-imposed obligation. The early 


poems he had never regarded as a fulfilment of the debt due to 
his Creator. Even when the fire of political strife burned at its 
hottest, Milton did not forget the purpose which he had conceived 
in his boyhood. Of that purpose Paradise Lost was the attain- 
ment. Begun about 1658, it was finished in 1663, the year of 
Milton's third 1 marriage; revised from 1663 to 1665; and 
eventually issued in 1667. Before its publication Milton had 
commenced (in the autumn of 1665) its sequel Paradise Re- 
gained, which in turn was closely followed by Samson Agonistes. 
The completion of Paradise Regained may be assigned to the 
year 1666 that of Samson Agonistes to 1667. Some time was 
spent in their revision ; and in January, 1671, they were pub- 
lished together, in a single volume. 

In 1673 Milton brought out a reprint of the 1645 edition of 
his Poems, adding most of the sonnets 2 written in the interval 3 

1 Milton's second marriage took place in the autumn of 1656, i.e. 
after he had become blind. His wife died in February, 1658. Cf. the 
Sonnet, " Methought I saw my late espoused saint," the pathos of which 
is heightened by the fact that he had never seen her. 

2 The number of Milton's sonnets is twenty-three (if we exclude the 
piece "On the New Forcers of Conscience"), five of which were 
written in Italian, probably during the time of his travels in Italy, 
1638, 1639. Ten sonnets were printed in the edition of 1645, tne l as t f 
them being that entitled (from the Cambridge MS.) "To the Lady 
Margaret Ley." The remaining thirteen were composed between 1645 
and 1658. The concluding sonnet, therefore (to the memory of Milton's 
second wife), immediately preceded his commencement of Paradise Lost. 
Four of these poems (xv. xvi. xvu. xxn.) could not, on account of 
their political tone, be included in the edition of 1673. They were 
published by Edward Phillips together with his memoir of Milton, 1694 
(Sonnet xvu. having previously appeared in a Life of Vane). The 
sonnet on the " Massacre in Piedmont " is usually considered the finest 
of the collection, of which Mr Mark Pattison edited a well-known 
edition, 1883. The sonnet inscribed with a diamond on a window pane 
in the cottage at Chalfont where the poet stayed in 1665 is (in the 
judgment of a good critic) Miltonic, in not Milton's (Garnett, Life of 
Milton, p. 175). 

3 The 1673 edition also gave the juvenile piece On the Death of a 
Fair Infant and At a Vacation Exercise, which for some reason had 
been omitted from the 1645 edition. 


The last four years of his life were devoted to prose works of no 
particular interest 1 . He continued to live in London. His third 
marriage had proved happy, and he enjoyed something of the 
renown which was rightly his. Various well-known men used 
to visit him notably Dryden 2 , who on one of his visits asked 
and received permission to dramatise 3 Paradise Lost It does 
not often happen that a university can point to two such poets 
among her living sons, each without rival in his generation. 

Milton died in 1674, November 8th. He was buried in St 
Giles' Church, Cripplegate. When we think of him we have to 
think of a man who lived a life of very singular purity and 
devotion to duty ; who for what he conceived to be his country's 
good sacrificed and no one can well estimate the sacrifice 
during twenty years the aim that was nearest to his heart and 
best suited to his genius ; who, however, eventually realised his 
desire of writing a great work in gloriam Dei. 

1 The treatise on Christian Doctrine (unpublished during Milton's 
lifetime and dating, it is thought, mainly from the period of his theo- 
logical treatises) is valuable as throwing much light on the theological 
views expressed in the two epic poems and Samson Agonistes. See 
Milton Memorial Lectures (1908), pp. 10942. The discovery of the 
MS. of this treatise in 1823 gave Macaulay an opportunity of writing 
his famous essay on Milton, which has been happily described as a 
Whig counterblast to Johnson's Tory depreciation of the poet. 

Milton's History of Britain, though not published till 1670, had 
been written many years earlier ; four of the six books, we know, were 
composed between 1646 and 1649. 

2 The lines by Dryden which were printed beneath the portrait of 
Milton in Tonson's folio edition of Paradise Lost published in 1688 are 
too familiar to need quotation ; but it is worth noting that the younger 
poet had in Milton's lifetime described the great epic as " one of the 
most noble, and most sublime poems which either this age or nation 
has produced" (prefatory essay to The State of Innocence, 1674). 
Further, tradition assigned to Dryden (a Roman Catholic and a Royal- 
ist) the remark, "this fellow (Milton) cuts us all out and the ancients 

3 See Marvell's "Commendatory Verses," 17 30, and the Notes, 

PP- 7*> 73- 



We have seen that the dominating idea of Milton's life was 
his resolve to write a great poem great in theme, in style, in 
attainment. To this purpose was he dedicated as a boy: as 
Hannibal was dedicated, at the altar of patriotism, to the cause 
of his country's revenge, or Pitt to a life of political ambition. 
Milton's works particularly his letters and prose pamphlets 
enable us to trace the growth of the idea which was shaping his 
intellectual destinies ; and as every poet is best interpreted by 
his own words, Milton shall speak for himself. 

Two of the earliest indications of his cherished plan are 
the Vacation Exercise and the second Sonnet. The Exercise 
commences with an invocation (not without significance, as we 
shall see) to his "native language," to assist him in giving 
utterance to the teeming thoughts that knock at the portal of 
his lips, fain to find an issue thence. The bent of these thoughts 
is towards the loftiest themes. Might he choose for himself, he 
would select some "grave subject": 

" Such where the deep transported mind may soar 
Above the wheeling poles, and at Heaven's door 
Look in, and see each blissful deity. 

Then sing of secret things that came to pass 
When beldam Nature in her cradle was." 

But recognising soon that such matters are inappropriate to 
the occasion a College festivity he arrests the flight of his 
muse with a grave descende ccelo, and declines on a lower range 
of subject, more fitting to the social scene and the audience. 
This Exercise was composed in 1628, in Milton's twentieth year, 
or, according to his method of dating, anno cEtatis xix. It is 
important as revealing firstly, the poet's consciousness of the 
divine impulse within, for which poetry is the natural outlet ; 
secondly, the elevation of theme with which that poetry must 
deal. A boy in years, he would like to handle the highest 
'arguments,' challenging thereby comparison with the sacri 

P. L. (, 


vates of inspired verse, the elect few whose poetic appeal is to 
the whole world. A vision of Heaven itself must be unrolled 
before his steadfast eagle-gaze : he will win a knowledge of the 
causes of things such as even Vergil, his master, modestly 
disclaimed. Little wonder, therefore, that, filled with these 
ambitions, Milton did not shrink, only two years later (1629 30), 
from attempting to sound the deepest mysteries of Christianity 
the Nativity and the Passion of Christ ; howbeit, sensible of his 
immaturity, he left his poem on the latter subject unfinished 1 . 

The Sonnet to which reference has been made deserves 
quotation at length : 

" How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth, 

Stolen on his wing my three-and-twentieth year ! 

My hasting days fly on with full career, 

But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th. 
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth, 

That I to manhood am arrived so near ; 

And inward ripeness doth much less appear, 

That some more timely-happy spirits endu'th. 
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow, 

It shall be still in strictest measure even 

To that same lot, however mean or high, 
Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven ; 

All is, if I have grace to use it so, 

As ever in my great Task- Master's eye." 

Mr Mark Pattison justly calls these lines "an inseparable 
part of Milton's biography" : they bring out so clearly the poet's 
solemn devotion to his self-selected task, and his determination 
not to essay the execution of that task until the time of complete 
"inward ripeness" has arrived. The Sonnet was one of the last 
poems composed by Milton during his residence at Cambridg-e. 

1 A passage in the sixth Elegy shows that the Nativity Ode (a 
prelude in some respects to Paradise Lost] was begun on Christmas 
morning, 1629. The Passion may have been composed for the following 
Easter; it breaks off with the notice "This Subject the Author 
finding to be above the years he had when he wrote it, and nothing 
satisfied with what was begun, left it unfinished." Evidently Milton 
was minded to recur to both subjects ; see later. 


The date is 1631. From 1632 to 1638 was a period of almost 
unbroken self-preparation, such as the Sonnet foreshadows. Of 
the intensity of his application to literature a letter written in 
1637 (the exact day being Sept. 7, 1637) enables us to judge. 

" It is my way," he says to Carlo Diodati, in excuse for 
remissness as a correspondent, " to suffer no impediment, no 
love of ease, no avocation whatever, to chill the ardour, to break 
the continuity, or divert the completion of my literary pursuits. 
From this and no other reasons it often happens that I do not 
readily employ my pen in any gratuitous exertions 1 ." But these 
exertions were not sufficient : the probation must last longer. In 
the same month, on the 23rd, he writes to the same friend, who 
had made enquiry as to his occupations and plans : " I am sure 
that you wish me to gratify your curiosity, and to let you know 
what I have been doing, or am meditating to do. Hear me, my 
Diodati, and suffer me for a moment to speak without blushing 
in a more lofty strain. Do you ask what I am meditating ? By 
the help of Heaven, an immortality of fame. But what am 
I doing? TTTpo(f)v5)j I am letting my wings grow and preparing 
to fly; but my Pegasus has not yet feathers enough to soar 
aloft in the fields of air 2 ." Four years later we find a similar 
admission " I have neither yet completed to my mind the full 
circle of my private studies... 3 ." 

This last sentence was written in 1640 (or 1641). Meanwhile 
his resolution had been confirmed by the friendly and flattering 
encouragement of Italian savants a stimulus which he records 
in an oft-cited passage 4 : 

"In the private academies 5 of Italy, whither I was favoured 

1 P. W. in. 492. 2 P m IIL 5> 

3 P. W. n. 47 6. 

4 The Reason of Church Government, P. W. 11. 477, 478 ; a few 
lines have been quoted in the Life of Milton. A passage similar to the 
concluding sentence might be quoted from the pamphlet Animadversions, 
published the same year (1641) as the Church Government-, see P. IV. 
in. 72. 

5 He refers to literary societies or clubs, of which there were several 
at Florence, e.g. the Delia Crusca, the Svogliati, etc. 

C 2 


to resort, perceiving that some trifles 1 which I had in memory, 
composed at under twenty or thereabout, (for the manner is, 
that every one must give some proof of his wit and reading 
there,) met with acceptance above what was looked for ; and 
other things 2 , which I had shifted in scarcity of books and 
conveniences to patch up amongst them, were received with 
written encomiums, which the Italian is not forward to bestow 
on men of this side the Alps ; I began thus far to assent both 
to them and divers of my friends here at home, and not less to 
an inward prompting which now grew daily upon me, that by 
labour and intense study (which I take to be my portion in this 
life), joined with the strong propensity of nature, I might perhaps 
leave something so written to aftertimes, as they should not 
willingly let it die." 

It was during this Italian journey (1638 39) that Milton 
first gave a hint of the particular direction in which this ambition 
was setting : at least we are vouchsafed a glimpse of the possible 
subject-matter of the contemplated poem, and there is that on 
which may be built conjecture as to its style. He had enjoyed 
at Naples the hospitality of the then famous writer Giovanni 
Battista Manso, whose courteous reception the young English 
traveller, ut ne ingratutn se ostenderet^ acknowledged in the piece 
of Latin hexameters afterwards printed in his Sylv(z under the 
title Mansus. In the course of the poem Milton definitely speaks 
of the remote legends of British history more especially, the 
Arthurian legend as the theme which he might some day treat. 
" May I," he says, "find such a friend 3 as Manso," 

1 i.e. Latin pieces; the Elegies, as well as some of the poems 
included in his Sylva, were written before he was twenty-one. 

2 Among the Latin poems which date from his Italian journey are 
the lines Ad Sahillum, a few of the Epigrams, and Mansus. Perhaps, 
too, the "other things" comprehended those essays in Italian verse 
which he had the courage to read before a Florentine audience, and 
they the indulgence to praise. 

3 i.e. a friend who would pay honour to him as Manso had paid 
honour to the poet Marini. Manso had helped in the erection of a 
monument to Marini at Naples ; and Milton alludes to this at the 
beginning of the poem. From Manso he would hear about Tasso. 


" Siquando 1 indigenas revoeabo in car/nina reges, 
Artururnque etiani sub terris bella moventem, 
Aut dicam invictce sociali feeders mensce 
Mngnaniiiios heroas, et (O modo spiritus adsif) 
Frangam Saxonicas Britonum sub Marie phalanges ! " 

This was in 1638. In the next year, after his return to 
England, he recurs to the project in the Epitapkium Damonis 
(162 71), his account being far more detailed : 

"Ipse"* 1 ego Dardanias Riitupina per aquora puppes 
Dicam, et Pandrasidos regnum vetus Inogenitz, 
Brennumque Arviragumque duccs, priscumqu? Belinum, 
Et tandem Armoricos Britonum sub lege colonos ; 
Turn gravidam Arturo fatali fraude logernen; 
Mendaces vultus, assumptaque Gorlois anna, 
Merlini dolus. O, mihi turn si vita supersit, 
Tu procul annosa pendebis, fistula, pinu, 
Multum oblita mihi, aut patriis mutata Camccnis 
Brittonicum strides ! " 

Here, as before, he first glances at the stories which date 
from the very dawn of British myth and romance, and then 

1 "If ever I shall revive in verse our native kings, and Arthur 
levying war in the world below ; or tell of the heroic company of 
the resistless Table Round, and be the inspiration mine ! break the 
Saxon bands neath the might of British chivalry" (Mansus, 80 84). 
His Common-place Book has a quaint reference to " Arturs round 

2 "I will tell of the Trojan fleet sailing our southern seas, and the 
ancient realm of Imogen, Pandrasus' daughter, and of Brennus, Arvi- 
ragus, and Belinus old, and the Armoric settlers subject to British laws. 
Then will I sing of logerne, fatally pregnant with Arthur how Uther 
feigned the features and assumed the armour of Gorlois, through 
Merlin's craft. And you, my pastoral pipe, an life be lent me, shall 
hang on some sere pine, forgotten of me; or changed to native notes 
shall shrill forth British strains." In the first lines he alludes to the 
legend of Brutus and the Trojans landing in England. Riitupina=. 
Kentish. The story of Arthur's birth at which he glances is referred to 
in the Idylls of the King. The general drift of the last verses is that he 
will give up Latin for English verse ; strides is a future, from strido (cf. 
<neid iv. 689). 


passes to the most fascinating of the later cycles of national 
legend the grey traditions that cluster round the hero of the 
Idylls of the King, the son of mythic Uther. And this passage, 
albeit the subject which it indicates was afterwards rejected by 
Milton, possesses a twofold value for those who would follow, 
step by step, the development of the idea which had as its 
final issue the composition of Paradise Lost. For, first, the 
concluding verses show that whatever the theme of the poem, 
whatever the style, the instrument of expression would be 
English. Just as Dante had weighed the merits of the 
vernacular and Latin and chosen the former, though the choice 
imposed on him the creation of an ideal, transfigured Italian 
out of the baser elements of many competing dialects,. so Milton 
more fortunate than Dante in that he found an instrument 
ready to use will use that "native language" whose help he had 
petitioned in the Vacation Exercise. An illustration of his 
feeling on this point is furnished by the treatise on Church 
Government, He says there that his work must make for " the 
honour and instruction" of his country: "I applied myself to 
that resolution which Ariosto followed... to fix all the industry 
and art I could unite to the adorning of my native tongue ; not 
to make verbal curiosities the end (that were a toilsome vanity), 
but to be an interpreter and relater of the best and sagest things 
among mine own citizens throughout this island in the mother 
dialect. That what the greatest and choicest wits of Athens, 
Rome, or modern Italy, and those Hebrews of old did for their 
country, I, in my proportion, with this over and above, of being 
a Christian, might do for mine 1 ; not caring to be once named 

1 P. W. n. 478. Reference has been made so frequently to this 
pamphlet on The Reason of Church Government urged against Prclaty, 
(1641), that it may be well to explain that the introduction to the 
second book is entirely autobiographical. Milton shows why he em- 
barked on such controversies, how much it cost him to do so, what 
hopes he had of returning to poetry, what was his view of the poet's 
mission and of his own capacity to discharge that mission. His prose 
works contain nothing more valuable than these ten pages of self- 


abroad, though perhaps I could attain to that, but content with 
these British islands as my world." Here is a clear announce- 
ment of his ambition to take rank as a great national poet. The 
note struck is patriotism. He will produce that which shall set 
English on a level with the more favoured Italian, and give his 
countrymen cause to be proud of their 

"dear dear land, 
Dear for her reputation through the world 1 ." 

To us indeed it may appear strange that Milton should 
have thought it worth while to emphasise what would now 
be considered a self-evident necessity : what modern poet, 
with a serious conception of his office and duty, would dream 
of employing any other language than his own ? But we must 
remember that in those days the empire of the classics was 
unquestioned : scholarship was accorded a higher dignity than 
now : the composition of long poems in Latin was still a custom 
honoured in the observance : and whoso sought to appeal to 
the "laureate fraternity" of scholars and men of letters, in- 
dependently of race and country, would naturally turn to the 
lingua franca of the learned. At any rate, the use of English 
less known than either Italian or French placed a poet at a 
great disadvantage, so far as concerned acceptance in foreign 
lands ; and when Milton determined to rely on his patrice 
Camcence, he foresaw that this would circumscribe his audience, 
and that he might have to rest content with the applause of his 
own countrymen. 

Again, these lines in the Epitaphium give us some grounds 
of surmise as to the proposed form of his poem. The historic 
events or traditions epitomised in the passage were too far 
separated in point of time, and too devoid of internal coherence 
and connection, to admit of dramatic treatment. Milton evi- 
dently contemplated a narrative poem, and for one who had 
drunk so deep of the classical spirit a narrative could scarce 
have meant aught else than an epic. Indeed thus much is 
implied by some sentences in The Reason of Church Govern- 

1 Richard 1L n. i. 57, 58. 


mentj which represent him as considering whether to attempt 
" that epic form whereof the two poems of Homer, and those 
other two of Virgil and Tasso, are a diffuse, and the book of Job 
a brief model... or whether those dramatic constitutions, wherein 
Sophocles and Euripides reign, shall be found more doctrinal 
and exemplary to a nation 1 ." 

But 'dramatic' introduces a fresh phase; and as the first 
period of the history of Paradise Lost, or rather of the idea 
which finally took shape in that poem, closes with the Epita- 
phium (1639), it may not be amiss to summarise the impressions 
deduced up to this point from the various passages which we 
have quoted from Milton. We have seen, then, Milton's early 
resolve ; its ambitious scope ; his self-preparation ; the en- 
couragement he received in Italy and from friends at home ; 
his announcement in 1638, repeated in 1639, that he has 
discovered a suitable subject in British fable more especially, 
in the legend of the Coming and Passing of Arthur ; his formal 
farewell to Latin verse, in favour of his native tongue; his desire 
to win recognition as a great national vates ; and his selection 
of the epic style. 

In respect of chronology we have reached the year 1639 
40. The second period extends from 1640 to 1642. We shall 
see that, some verses of Paradise Lost were written about 1642 : 
after 1642, up till 1658, we hear no more of the poem proof 
that the idea has been temporarily abandoned under stress of 
politics. Therefore 1642 may be regarded as the ulterior limit 
of this second period. And it is not, I think, fanciful to consider 
that Paradise Lost entered on a fresh stage about 1640, because 
between that year and 1642 Milton's plans underwent a twofold 
change by which the character of the poem was entirely altered. 

First, the subject for which he had shown so decided a bias 
is discarded : after 1639 no mention is made of King Arthur. 
We have no hint of the cause which led Milton to drop the 
subject ; but it may well have lain in his increasing re- 
publicanism. He could not have treated the theme from an 

1 P. W. ii. 47 8, 479. 


unfavourable standpoint. The hero of the poem must have 
been for him, as for the Milton of our own age, a type of 
all kingly grandeur and worth ; and it would have gone sore 
against the grain with the future apologist for regicide to exercise 
his powers in creating a royal figure that would shed lustre on 
monarchy, and in a measure plead for the institution which 
Milton detested so heartily 1 . Only a Royalist could have retold 
the story, making it illustrate " the divine right of kings," and 
embodying in the character of the blameless monarch the 
Cavalier conception of Charles I. Perhaps too he was in- 
fluenced by discovering, after fuller research, the mythical 
character of the legend. So much is rather implied by some 
remarks in his History of Britain. Milton with his intense 
earnestness was not the poet to build a long work on what he 
had found to be mainly fiction. Be this as it may, Milton 
rejected the subject, and it finds no place in a list of one 
hundred possible subjects of his poem. 

Secondly, from this period, 1640 42, dates an alteration 
in the design of the contemplated work. Hitherto his tendency 
has been towards the epic form: now (1640 or 1641) we find 
him preferring the dramatic. Shall he imitate Sophocles and 
Euripides ? Shall he transplant to English soil the art of the 
" lofty grave tragedians " of Greece ? The question is answered 
in a decided affirmative. Had Milton continued the poem of 
which the opening lines were written in 1642 we should have 
had not an epic but a drama, or possibly a trilogy of dramas, 
cast in a particular manner, as will be observed presently. 
This transference of his inclinations from the epic to the 
"dramatic style appears to date from 1641. It is manifested in 
the Milton MSS. at Trinity College. . 

When the present library of Trinity College, the erection of 
which was begun during the Mastership of Isaac Barrow, was 
completed, one of its earliest benefactors was a former member 
of Trinity, Sir Henry Newton Puckering. Among his gifts was 
a thin MS. volume of fifty-four pages, which had served Milton 
as a common-place book. How it came into the possession of 
Sir Henry Puckering is not known. He was contemporary 
1 See the notes on P. L. xu. 24, 36. 


with, though junior to, Milton, and may possibly have been one 
of the admirers who visited the poet in the closing years of his 
life, and discharged the office of amanuensis ; or perhaps there 
was some family connection by means of which the MS. passed 
into his hands. But if the history of the book be obscure, its 
value is not ; for it contains now in Milton's autograph, now 
in other, unidentified handwritings the original drafts of several 
of his early poems : notably of Arcades, Lycidas and Camus, 
together with many of the Sonnets. The volume is not a 
random collection of scattered papers bound together after 
Milton's death : it exists (apart from its sumptuous modern 
investiture) exactly in the same form as that wherein Milton 
knew and used it two centuries and a half agone. And this 
point is important because the order of the pages, and, by 
consequence, of their contents, is an index to the order of the 
composition of the poems. Milton, about the year 1631, had 
had the sheets of paper stitched together and then worked 
through the little volume, page on page, inserting his pieces as 
they were written. They cover a long period, from 16 to 1658: 
the earlier date being marked by the second Sonnet, the later 
by the last of the series " Methought I saw." It is rather more- 
than half way through the MS. that we light on the entries 
which have so direct a bearing on the history of Paradise Lost. 
These are notes, written by Milton himself (probably in 
1641), and occupying seven pages of the manuscript, on subjects 
which seemed to him suitable, in varying degrees of appropriate- 
ness, for his poem. Some of the entries are very brief concise 
jottings down, in two or three words, of any theme that struck 
him. Others are more detailed : the salient features of some 
episode in history are selected, and a sketch of the best method 
of treating them added. In a few instances these sketches are 
filled in with much minuteness and care: the 'economy' or 
arrangement of the poem is marked out the action traced from 
point to point. But, Paradise Lost apart, this has been done in 
only a few cases a half dozen, at most. As a rule, the source 
whence the material of the work might be drawn is indicated. 
The subjects themselves, numbering just one hundred, fall, in a 
rough classification, under two headings Scriptural and British : 


and by * British ' are meant those which Milton drew from the 
chronicles of British history prior to the Norman Conquest. 
The former are the more numerous class : sixty-two being 
derived from the Bible, of which the Old Testament claims 
fifty-four. Their character will be best illustrated by quotation 
of a few typical examples : 

Abram in ./Egypt. 
Josuah in Gibeon. Josu. 10. 
Jonathan rescu'd Sam. I. 14. 
Saul in Gilboa i Sam. -28. 31. 
Gideon Idoloclastes Jud. 6. 7. 
Abimelech the usurper. Jud. 9. 
Samaria liberata 1 2 Reg. 7. 
Asa or ^Ethiopes. 2 chron. 14. with 
the deposing his mother, and burning her Idol. 

These are some of the subjects drawn from the New Testa- 
ment : 

Christ bound 

Christ crucifi'd 

Christ risen. 

Lazarus Joan. n. 

Christus patiens 

The Scene in y e garden beginning fr5 y e comming thither till 
Judas betraies & y e officers lead him away y e rest by message & 
chorus, his agony may receav noble expressions 

Of British subjects 2 there are thirty-three. The last page is 
assigned to " Scotch stories or rather brittish of the north parts. 1 ' 
Among these Macbeth is conspicuous. Practically they may be 
grouped with the thirty-three, and the combined list is remark- 
able first, because it does not include the Arthurian legend, 

1 The title is an obvious allusion to Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata. 

2 Milton's attitude towards them is illustrated indirectly by his 
History of Britain. In his paper on " Milton as an Historian " read 
before the British Academy recently (Nov. 25, 1908) Professor Frith 
says : " It was not only by his treatment of the mythical period of 
English history that Milton's interest in the legendary and anecdotic 
side of history was revealed. It appeared in the later books as well 
as the earlier, and the introduction of certain episodes, or the space 
devoted to them, might often be explained by their inclusion in the 
list of suggested subjects for his ' British Tragedies.' " 


which had once exercised so powerful a fascination on Milton ; 
secondly, because in its brevity, as compared with the list of 
Scriptural subjects, it suggests his preference for a sacred poem. 
Of the Scriptural subjects the story of the Creation and Fall 
assumes the most prominent place. Any friend of Milton 
glancing through these papers in 1641 could have conjectured, 
with tolerable certainty, where the poet's final choice would fall. 
For no less than four of the entries refer to Paradise Lost. 
Three of these stand at the head of the list of sacred themes. 
In two at least his intention to treat the subject in dramatic 
form is patent. The two first mere enumerations of possible 
dramatis persona run thus 1 ; it will be seen that the longer list 
is simply an expansion of the other : 

the Persons the Persons 

Michael. Moses 2 

Heavenly Love Justice 8 . Mercie Wisdome 

Chorus of Angels Heavenly Love 

Lucifer Hesperus the Evening Staire 

dam l with the serpent ^ho* of Angels 

Eve | Lucifer 

Conscience Adam 

Death Eve 

Labour \ Conscience 4 

Sicknesse Labour \ 

Discontent \- mutes Sicknesse | 

Ignorance Discontent i 

with others/ Ignorance f 

Faith Feare 

Hope Death / 

Charity Faith 



1 Neither is introduced with any title. 

2 Milton first wrote " Michael," as in the other list, but substituted 
" Moses." 

3 The epithet Divine, qualifying Justice, was inserted and then 
crossed out again. "Wisdome" was added. 

4 After Conscience Milton added Death, as in the first list ; then 
deleted it, and placed Death among the ' mutes ' (inutce persona, 
characters who appeared without speaking). 



These lists are crossed out ; and underneath stands a much 
fuller sketch, in which the action of the tragedy is shown, and 
the division into acts observed. Here, too, we first meet with 
the title Paradise Lost. The scheme is as follows : 

Paradise Lost The Persons 

Moses irpoXoyifei recounting how he assum'd his true bodie, that it 
corrupts not because of his with god in the mount declares the 
like of Enoch and Eliah, besides the purity of y e pi 1 that certaine 
pure winds, dues, and clouds preserve it from corruption whence 
horts 1 to the sight of god, tells they 2 cannot se Adam in the state of 
innocence by reason of thire sin 3 
Justice ^j 

Mercie V debating what should become of man if he fall 
Chorus of Angels sing a hymne of y e creation 4 

Act 2. 

Heavenly Love 
Evening starre 
chorus sing the mariage song 5 and describe Paradice 

Act 3. 

Lucifer contriving Adams ruine 

Chorus feares for Adam and relates Lucifers rebellion and fall 6 

Act 4. 

Adam) - ., 

V fallen 
Eve j 

Conscience cites them to Gods examination 7 
Chorus bewails and tells the good Ada hath lost 

1 The margin of the MS. is frayed here. 

2 they, i.e. the imaginary audience to whom the prologue is 
addressed. Cf. the commencement of Comus. 

3 After this the first act begins. 

4 Cf. vii. 253 60, note. 

6 Cf. iv. 711. Cf. bks. V VI. 

7 Cf. x. 97 et stq. 

mutes to whome he gives thire names 
likewise winter, heat Tempest 2 &c 


Act 5 

Adam and Eve, driven out of Paradice 

presented by an angel with 1 

Death enterd 
into y e world 
Faith | 

Hope > comfort him and Istruct him 
Chorus breifly concludes 

This draft of the tragedy, which occurs on page 35 of the 
MS., is not deleted ; but Milton was still dissatisfied, and later 
on, page 40, we come to a fourth, and concluding, scheme 
which reads thus : 

Adam unparadiz'd 3 

The angel Gabriel, either descending or entering 4 , shewing since 
this globe was created, his frequency as much on earth, as in heavn, 
describes Paradise, next the Chorus shewing the reason of his 5 comming 
to keep his watch in Paradise after Lucifers rebellion by command from 
god, & withall expressing his desire to see, & know more concerning 
this excellent new creature man. the angel Gabriel as by his name 

1 Cf. bks. xi xn. 2 See X. 651, note. 

3 Underneath was written, and crossed out, an alternative title 
Adams Banishment. 

4 Cf. Comus, "The Attendant Spirit descends or enters" (adinit. ). 

5 his^ i.e. the chorus's ; he makes the chorus now a singular, now a 
plural, noun. 


signifying a prince of power tracing 1 paradise with a more free office 
passes by the station of y e chorus & desired by them relates what he 
knew of man as the creation of Eve with thire love, & manage, after 
this Lucifer appeares after his overthrow, bemoans himself, seeks 
revenge on man the Chorus prepare resistance at his first approach 
at last after discourse of enmity on either side he departs wherat the 
chorus sings of the battell, & victorie in heavn against him & his 
accomplices, as before after the first act 2 was sung a hymn of the 
creation, heer 3 again may appear Lucifer relating, & insulting in what 
he had don to the destruction of man. man next & Eve having by this 
time bin seduc't by the serpent appeares confusedly cover'd with 
leaves conscience in a shape accuses him, Justice cites him to the place 
whither Jehova call'd for him in the mean while the chorus entertains 4 
the stage, & his [sic] inform'd by some angel the manner of his fall heer 3 
the chorus bewailes Adams fall. Adam then & Eve returne accuse one 
another but especially Adam layes the blame to his wife, is stubborn in 
his offence Justice appeares reason 5 with him convinces him the 3 chorus 
admonisheth Adam, & bids him beware by Luciters example of 
impenitence the Angel is sent to banish them out of paradise but before 
causes to passe before his eyes in shapes a mask of all the evills 6 of this 
life & world he is humbl'd relents, dispaires. at last appeares Mercy 
comforts him promises the Messiah, then calls in faith, hope, & charity, 
instructs him he repents gives god the glory, submitts to his penalty 
the chorus breifly concludes, compare this with the former draught. 

" It appears plain," says Todd, " that Milton intended to have 
marked the division of the Acts in this sketch, as well as in 
the preceding. Peck has divided them ; and closes the first Act 
with Adam and Eve's love." The other Acts may be supposed 
to conclude at the following points : Act 2 at " sung a hymn of 
the creation"; Act 3 at "inform'd... the manner of his fall"; 
Act 4 at "bids him beware... impenitence" ; Act 5 at "the chorus 
breifly concludes." 

It is in regard to the first Act that this fourth draft, which 

1 passing through ; cf. Comus, 423. 

2 i.e. in the third draft. 

3 Each of these sentences was an after-thought, added below or in 
the margin. 

1 occupies. & i-e. reasons ; or ' to reason.' 

6 See xi. 47793. note. 


Milton bids us "compare with the former," marks a distinct 
advance. Milton made Moses the speaker of the prologue in 
the third draft because so much of the subject-matter of 
Paradise Lost is drawn from the Mosaic books of the Old 
Testament. But the appearance of a descendant of Adam, 
even in a prologue, where much latitude is allowed by con- 
vention, seems an awkward prelude to scenes coincident with 
Adam's own creation. It is far more natural that, before the 
subject of man's fall is touched upon at all, we should be told 
who man is, and that this first mention of him should come 
from the supernatural beings who had, or might have, witnessed 
the actual creation of the universe and its inhabitants. The 
explanation, too, why Moses is able to assume his natural body 
is very forced. And altogether this fourth draft exhibits more 
of drama, less of spectacle, than its predecessor. 

With regard to the subject, therefore, thus much is clear : 
as early as 1641 2 Milton has manifested an unmistakeable 
preference for the story of the lost Paradise, and the evidence 
of the Trinity MSS. coincides with the testimony of Aubrey and 
Phillips, who say that the poet did, about 1642, commence the 
composition of a drama on this theme of which drama the 
opening verses of Paradise Lost, book IV. (Satan's address to 
the sun), formed the exordium. It is, I think, by no means 
improbable that some other portions of the epic are really 
fragments of this unfinished work. Milton may have written 
two or three hundred lines, have kept them in his desk, and 
then, years afterward, when the project was resumed, have made 
use of them where opportunity offered. Had the poem, however, 
been completed in accordance with his original conception we 
should have had a tragedy, not an epic. 

Of this there is abundant proof. The third and fourth 
sketches, as has been observed, are dramatic. On the first 
page of these entries, besides those lists of dramatis persona 
which we have treated as the first and second sketches, stand 
the words "other Tragedies," followed by the enumeration of 
several feasible subjects. The list of British subjects is 
prefaced with the heading "British Trag." (i.e. tragedies). 


Wherever Milton has outlined the treatment of any of the 
Scriptural themes a tragedy is clearly indicated. Twice, indeed, 
another form is mentioned the pastoral, and probably a 
dramatic pastoral was intended 1 . These, however, are ex- 
ceptions, serving to emphasise his leaning towards tragedy. 

But what sort of tragedy ? I think we may fairly conclude 
that, if carried out on the lines laid down in the fourth sketch, 
Adam unparadiz'd would have borne a very marked resem- 
blance to Samson Agonistes : it would have conformed, in the 
main, to the same type that, namely, of the ancient Greek 
drama. With the romantic stage of the Elizabethans Milton 
appears to have felt little sympathy 2 : else he would scarce have 
written // Penseroso, 101, 102. Nor do I believe that his 
youthful enthusiasm for Shakespeare remained unmodified 3 : 
certainly, the condemnation of one important aspect of Shake- 
spearian tragedy in the preface to Samson Agonistes is too plain 
to be misinterpreted. So had Milton been minded to dramatise 
the story of Macbeth we have marked its presence in the list 
of Scottish subjects his Macbeth would have differed toto ccelo 
from Shakespeare's. In the same way, his tragedy of Paradise 
Lost would have been wholly un-Shakespearian, wholly un- 
Elizabethan. Nor would it have had any affinity to the drama 
of Milton's contemporaries 4 , those belated Elizabethans bungling 
with exhausted materials and forms that had lost all vitality. 
Tragedy for Milton could mean but one thing the tragic stage 
of the Greeks, the " dramatic constitutions " of Sophocles and 
Euripides : and when we examine these sketches of Paradise 

1 These are the two entries in the MS. : " Theristria. a Pastoral out 
of Ruth " ; and " the sheepshearers in Carmel a Pastoral, i Sam. 25." 
There is but one glance at the epical style ; in the list of " British Trag." 
after mentioning an episode in the life of King Alfred appropriate to 
dramatic handling, he adds "A Heroicall Poem may be founded 
somwhere in Alfreds reigne. especially at his issuing out of Edelingsey 
on the Danes, whose actions are wel like those of Ulysses." 

2 See Appendix to Samson Agonistes. 

3 See note on V Allegro, 133, 134. 

4 In the treatise On Education, 1644, he speaks of "our common 
rhymers and play-writers" as "despicable creatures," P. W. III. 474. 

P. L. d 


Lost we find in them the familiar features of Athenian drama 
certain signs eloquent of the source on which the poet has 

Let us, for example, glance at the draft of Adam unparadiz* d. 
Milton has kept the 'unities' of place and time. The scene 
does not change ; it is set in some part of Eden, and everything 
represented before the eyes of the audience occurs at the same 
spot. But whoso regards the unity of place must suffer a 
portion of the action to happen off the stage not enacted in 
the presence of the audience (as in a modern play where the 
scene changes), but reported. In Samson Agonistes Milton 
employs the traditional device of the Greek tragedians he 
relates the catastrophe by the mouth of a messenger. So here : 
the temptation by the serpent is not represented on the scene : 
it is described partly by Lucifer, "relating, and insulting in 
what he had don to the destruction of man"; partly by an angel 
who informs the Chorus of the manner of the fall. Again, the 
unity of time is observed. The time over which the action of a 
tragedy might extend, according to the usual practice of the 
Greek dramatists, was twenty-four hours. In Samson Agonistes 
the action begins at sunrise and ends at noon, thus occupying 
seven or eight hours. In Adam unparaditfd the action would 
certainly not exceed the customary twenty-four hours. Again a 
Chorus is introduced (sure sign of classical influence), and not 
only introduced, but handled exactly as Milton, following his 
Greek models, has handled it in Samson Agonistes : that is to 
say, closely identified with the action of the tragedy, even as 
Aristotle recommends that it should be. Further, in the fourth 
scheme the division into acts is carefully avoided an advance 
this on the third scheme. Similarly, in Samson Agonistes 
Milton avoids splitting up the play into scenes and acts, calling 
attention to the fact in his preface. Proofs 1 of Milton's 

1 Thus, apart from P. L., the Scriptural themes whereof the fullest 
sketches are given, are three tragedies severally entitled " Abram from 
Morea, or Isack redeemed Baptistes" (i.e. on the subject of John the 
Baptist and Herod) and "Sodom Burning." In each two unities 
(time and place) are kept, and a Chorus used. In " Isack redeemed" the 


classical bias might be multiplied from these Milton MSS. ; 
and personally I have no doubt that when he began the tragedy 
of which Aubrey and Phillips speak, he meant to revive in 
English the methods and style of his favourite Greek poets. 
But the scheme soon had to be abandoned ; and not till a 
quarter of a century later was it executed in Samson Agonistcs\ 
With Milton as with Dante the greatest came last after long 
delay : the life's work of each marked the life's close : and, 
the work done, release soon came to each, though to Dante 
sooner 2 . 

The third period in the genesis of Paradise Lost dates from 
1658. In that year, according to Aubrey, Milton began the 
poem as we know it. By then he had gone back to the epic 
style. He was still Secretary, but his duties were very light, 
and allowed him to devote himself to poetry. At the Restoration 
he was in danger, for some time, of his life, and was imprisoned 
for a few months. But in spite of this interruption, and of his 
blindness 3 , the epic was finished about 1663. The history of 

incident of the sacrifice is reported, and the description of the character 
of the hero Abraham as Milton meant to depict him is simply a 
paraphrase on Aristotle's definition of the ideal tragic hero. Most of 
the other subjects have a title such as the Greek tragedians employed 
e.g. " Elias Polemistes," "Elisseus Hydrochoos," "Zedechiah j/eore- 

1 The point is important because it disposes of the notion that 
Milton borrowed the idea of writing a tragedy on the classical model 
from the play of Samson by the Dutch poet Vondel. 

2 "There is at once similarity and difference in the causes which 
made each postpone the execution of his undertaking till a comparatively 
late period in his life ; and a curious parallel may be observed in the 
length of time between the first conception and the completion of their 
monumental works, as well as in the period that elapsed between the 
end of their labours and their death." (Courthope.) 

3 According to Edward Phillips, Milton dictated the poem to any 
one who chanced to be present and was willing to act as amanuensis; 
afterwards Phillips would go over the MS., correcting errors, under his 
uncle's direction. The original transcript submitted to the Licenser is 
extant, and is one of the many literary treasures that have gone to 


each of his longer poems shows that he was exceedingly careful 
in revising his works loth to let them go forth to the world till 
all that was possible had been done to achieve perfection 1 . It is 
Aubrey's statement that Paradise Lost was completed in 1663 ; 
while Milton's friend Thomas Ellwood, the Quaker, describes 
in a famous passage of his Autobiography, how in 1665 the poet 
placed a manuscript in his hands " bidding me take it home 
with me and read it at my leisure, and, when I had so done, 
return it to him with my judgment thereupon. When I came 
home, and had set myself to read it, I found it was that ex- 
cellent poem which he intituled Paradise Lost" Ellwood's 
account may be reconciled with Aubrey's on the reasonable 
supposition that the interval between 1663 and 1665 was spent 
in revision. Still, some delay in publishing the poem ensued. 
On the outbreak of the Plague in 1665 Milton had left London, 
retiring to Chalfont in Buckinghamshire, where Ellwood had 
rented a cottage for him. He returned in the next year, 1666 ; 
but again there was delay this time through the great Fire 
of London which disorganised business. . Not till 1667 did 
Paradise Lost appear in print. The agreement (now in the 
possession of the British Museum) drawn up between Milton 
and his publisher by which he received an immediate payment 
of ^5, and retained certain rights over the future sale of the 
book is dated April 27, 1667. The date on which Paradise 
Lost was entered in the Stationers' Register is August 20, 1667. 
No doubt, copies were in circulation in the autumn of this year. 

America. It "passed from the possession of the first printer of the 
poem, Samuel Simmons, to Jacob Tonson [the publisher], and thence 
to his collateral descendants, remaining in the same family... until 
1904," when it was bought by an American collector. (From an 
article in The Athenaum on " Miltoniana in America.") 

1 "When we look at his earlier manuscripts, with all their erasures 
and corrections, we may well wonder what the Paradise Lost would have 
been if he had been able to give it the final touches of a faultless and 
fastidious hand. When we think of it composed in darkness, preserved 
in memory, dictated in fragments, it may well seem to us the most 
astonishing of all the products of high genius guided by unconquerable 
will" (J. W. Mackail). 


The system of licensing publications, against which Milton 
had protested so vehemently in his Areopagitica, had been revived 
by the Press Act of 1662 and was now strongly enforced. " By 
that act," says Dr Masson, " the duty of licensing books of general 
literature had been assigned to the Secretaries of State, the 
Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bishop of London ; but it 
was exceptional for any of those dignitaries to perform the duty 
in person. It was chiefly performed for them by a staff of under- 
licencers, paid by fees. 37 Five or six of his chaplains acted so for 
the Archbishop ; and according to tradition one of them, to 
whom Paradise Lost was submitted, hesitated to give his im- 
primatur on account of the lines in the first book about eclipses 
perplexing monarchs with fear of change (i. 594 99). Milton 
must have remembered grimly the bitter gibes in his pamphlets, 
e.g. in the A nimadversions (1641) against "monkish prohibitions, 
and expurgatorious indexes," and "proud Imprimaturs not to be 
obtained without the shallow surview, but not shallow hand of 
some mercenary, narrow-souled, and illiterate chaplain." The 
wheel had come full circle with a vengeance. 

This first edition of Paradise Lost raises curious points 1 of 
bibliography into which there is no need to enter here ; but we 
must note three things. The poem was divided into not 
twelve books but ten. In the earlier copies issued to the 
public there were no prose Arguments ; these (written, we may 
suppose, by Milton himself) were printed all together and 
inserted at the commencement of each of the later volumes of 

1 For example, no less than nine distinct title-pages of this edition 
have been traced. This means that, though the whole edition was 
printed in 1667, only a limited number of copies were bound up and 
issued in that year. The rest would be kept in stock, unbound, and 
published in instalments, as required. Hence new matter could be 
inserted (such as the prose Arguments)^ and in each instalment it would 
be just as easy to bind up a new title-page as to use the old one. Often 
the date had to be changed : and we find that two of these pages bear 
the year 1667; four, 1668 ; and three, 1669. Seven have Milton's 
name in full ; two, only his initials. Mr Leigh Sotheby collated them 
carefully in his book on Milton's autograph, pp. 81 84. 


this first edition an awkward arrangement changed in the 
second edition. Milton prefixed to the later copies the brief 
prefatory note on The Verse, explaining why he had used blank 
verse ; and it was preceded by the address of The Printer to the 
Reader. It seems that the number of copies printed in the first 
edition was 1500; and the statement of another payment made 
by the publisher to Milton on account of the sale of the book 
shows that by April 26, 1669, i.e. a year and a half after the date 
of publication, 1300 copies had been disposed of. 

In 1674 the second edition was issued with several changes. 
First, the epic (said to be 670 lines longer than the ^Eneid} 
was divided into twelve books, a more Vergilian number, by the 
subdivision of books VII. and X. Secondly, the prose Argu- 
ments were transferred from the beginning and prefixed to their 
respective books. Thirdly, a few changes were introduced into 
the text few of any great significance. It was to the second 
edition that the commendatory verses by Samuel Barrow and 
Andrew Marvell were prefixed. Four years later, 1678, came 
the third edition, and in 1688 the fourth. This last was the 
well-known folio published by Tonson ; Paradise Regained and 
Samson Agonistes were bound up with some copies of it, so that 
Milton's three great works were obtainable in a single volume. 
The first annotated edition of Paradise Lost was that edited by 
Patrick Hume in 1695, being the sixth reprint. And during 
the 1 8th century editions 1 were numerous. "Milton scholar- 
ship 2 ,'' it has been justly said, "was active throughout the whole 

There is, indeed, little (if any) ground for the view which one 
so frequently comes across that Paradise Lost met with scant 
appreciation, and that Milton was neglected by his contem- 

1 Pre-eminent among them is Bishop Newton's edition (1749). He 
was the first editor who took pains to secure accuracy of text, doing, 
on a smaller scale, for Milton what Theobald did for Shakespeare. 
His services too in the elucidation of certain aspects (notably the Scrip- 
tural) of Milton's learning have never been surpassed. 

2 See Professor Dowden's Tercentenary paper "Milton in the 
Eighteenth Century (1701 1750)." 


poraries, and without honour in his lifetime. To the general 
public epic poetry will never appeal, more especially if it be 
steeped in the classical feeling that pervades Paradise Lost ; 
but there must have been a goodly number of scholars and 
lettered readers to welcome the work else why these successive 
editions, appearing at no very lengthy intervals? One thing, 
doubtless, which prejudiced its popularity was the personal 
resentment of the Royalist classes at Milton's political actions. 
They could not forget his long identification with republicanism ; 
and there was much in the poem itself covert sneers and 
gibes which would repel many who were loyal to the Church 
and the Court. Further, the style of Paradise Lost was 
something very different from the prevailing tone of the 
literature then current and popular. Milton was the last of the 
Elizabethans, a lonely survival lingering on into days when 
French influence was beginning to dominate English taste. 
Even the metre of his poem must have sounded strange to ears 
familiarised to the crisp clearness and epigrammatic ring of the 
rhymed couplet 1 . Yet, in spite of these obstacles, many whose 
praise was worth the having were proud of Milton : they felt 
that he had done honour to his country. He was accorded that 
which he had sought so earnestly acceptance as a great 
national poet ; and it is pleasant to read how men of letters 
and social distinction would pay visits of respect to him, and 
how the white-winged Fame bore his name and reputation 
abroad, so that foreigners came to England for the especial 
purpose of seeing him. And their visits were the prelude of 
that foreign renown and influence from which he seemed to 
have cut himself off when he made his native tongue the 
medium of his great work. " Milton was the first English 
poet to inspire respect and win fame for our literature on the 
Continent, and to his poetry was due, to an extent that has not 
yet been fully recognised, the change which came over European 
ideas in the eighteenth century with regard to the nature and 
scope of the epic. Paradise Lost was the mainstay of those 

1 Cf. Marvell's "Commendatory Verses," 45 54. 


critics who dared to vindicate, in the face of French classicism, 
the rights of the imagination over the reason in poetry 1 ." 

There has been much discussion about the 'sources' of 
Paradise Lost, and writers well nigh as countless as Vallom- 
brosa's autumn leaves have been thrust forth from their 
obscurity to claim the honour of having 'inspired' (as the 
phrase is) the great epic. Most of these unconscious claimants 
were, like enough, unknown to Milton ; but some of them do 
seem to stand in a relation which demands recognition. 

I should place first the Latin tragedy Adamus Exul (1601), 
written in his youth by the great jurist Hugo Grotius after the 
model of Seneca. Apart from the question of actual resemblances 
to Paradise Lost, it might fairly be conjectured, if not assumed, 
that Milton read this tragedy. He knew Grotius personally and 
knew his works. Describing, in the Second Defence, his Italian 
tour in 1638, Milton mentions his stay in Paris and friendly 
reception by the English ambassador, and adds : " His lordship 
gave me a card of introduction to the learned Hugo Grotius, at 
that time ambassador from the Queen of Sweden to the French 
court; whose acquaintance I anxiously desired 2 ." He quotes the 
opinions of Grotius with high respect in his treatise on divorce 3 . 
The alternative titles of the fourth draft of Milton's own con- 
templated tragedy, viz. Adam unparadisfd and Adams Banish- 
ment, certainly recall the title Adamus Exul \ and it may be 

1 Professor J. G. Robertson, ''Milton's Fame on the Continent," 
a paper read before the British Academy, Dec. 10, 1908. 

Perhaps the strangest and most delightful evidence of Milton's 
acceptance among foreigners was Mr Maurice Baring's discovery of the 
popularity of Paradise Lost, in a prose translation, amongst the Russian 
peasantry and private soldiers : 

" The schoolmaster said that after all his experience the taste of the 
peasants in literature baffled him. ' They will not read modern stories,' 
he said. 'When I ask them why they like Paradise Lost they point to 
their heart and say, "It is near to the heart ; it speaks; you read, and 
a sweetness comes to you." ' 

2 P. W. i. 255- 

3 See chapters XVII., XVHI. of The Doctrine and Discipline. 


noted that this draft was sketched in that period (about 1641) 
of Milton's life to which his meeting with Grotius belongs. 
Of the likeness between Paradise Lost and the Adarmts Exut, 
and other works dealing with the same theme, it is impossible to 
say how much, if not all, is due to identity of subject and (what 
is no less important) identity of convention as to the machinery 
proper for its treatment. But I do not think that community of 
subject accounts entirely for the resemblances between Paradise 
Lost and Grotius's tragedy. The conception of Satan's character 
and motives unfolded in his long introductory speech in the 
Adatmis, the general idea of his escaping from Hell and sur- 
veying Eden, his invocation of the powers of evil (amongst them 
Chaos and Night) these things and some others, such as the 
Angel's narrative to Adam of the Creation, seem like far-off 
embryonic drawings of the splendours of the epic. It should be 
added that Grotius's other religious plays were known in England. 
A free rendering of his Christus Pattens into rhymed heroics 
was published in London in 1640 under the title Christ's Passion; 
while his tragedy Sophompaneas^ or Joseph, appeared in an 
English version in 1650. And a sidelight may be thrown not 
merely on the contemporary estimate of Grotius by the ex- 
ceptionally eulogistic mention of his works in the Theatrum 
Poetarum (1675) of Milton's nephew Edward Phillips. The 
Theatrum is commonly supposed to reflect in some degree 
Milton's own views 1 and it is significant therefore to find 
Grotius described as one "whose equal in fame for Wit & 
Learning, Christendom of late Ages hath rarely produc'd, 
particularly of so happy a Genius in Poetry, that had his Annals, 

1 See v. 177, 673, notes. Other touches in the Theatrum of 
Mil tonic interest are the accounts of Spenser and Sylvester, and the 
praise of Henry Lawes in the notice of Waller. One may conjecture, 
too, that the obscure Erycus Puteanus would not have had his niche 
but for Comus. The Theatrum includes also Andreini but not Vondel. 
Phillips's account of Milton himself is admirably discreet : and he 
expressly terms Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained " Heroic Poems." 
The relations between uncle and nephew were more than ordinarily 


his Book De Veritate Christiana Religionis...&K& other his 
extolled works in Prose, never come to Light, his extant and 
universally approved Latin Poems, had been sufficient to gain 
him a Living Name." 

It is an easy transition from the Adamus Exulto the Adamo 
of the Italian poet Giovanni Battista Andreini (15781652), a 
Florentine, which is said to owe something to Grotius's tragedy. 
Voltaire, in his Essai s ur la Podsie Epique written in 1727, related 
that Milton during his residence at Florence saw "a comedy 

called Adamo^ The subject of the play was the Fall of Man: 

the actors, the Devils, the Angels, Adam, Eve, the Serpent, 

Death, and the Seven Mortal Sins Milton pierced through 

the absurdity of that performance to the hidden majesty of the 
subject ; which, being altogether unfit for the stage, yet might be, 
for the genius of Milton, and his only, the foundation of an epick 
poem." What authority he had for this legend Voltaire does not 
say. It is not alluded to by any of Milton's contemporary bio- 
graphers. It may have been a mere invention by some ill-wisher 
of the poet, a piece of malicious gossip circulated out of political 
spite against the great champion of republicanism. But the 
authenticity of the story is not perhaps very important, for inde- 
pendently there seems to be evidence in the Adamo itself that 
Milton was acquainted with it even before his visit to Italy. One 
cannot read the scene of the Adamo (v. 5) in which the World, 
personified, tempts Eve with all its pomps and vanities, without 
being reminded of the scene in Comus of the temptation of the 
Lady. And, as with the Adamus Exul, some of the coincidences 
of incident and treatment between the Adamo and Paradise 
Lost, or Milton's early dramatic sketches of the action, seem to 
constitute a residuum of resemblance after full allowance has 

1 It had been printed in 1613 (Milan), and again in 1617. The 
title-page of the first edition describes the work as " L' Adamo, Sacra 
Rapresentatione." It is more " a hybrid between a miracle play and an 
opera" (Courthope) than a "comedy." A translation by Cowper and 
Hayley was printed in their edition of Milton ; and it is in this 
translation that the work is known to me. The fact that Cowper took 
the Adamo theory seriously is significant. 


been made for the influence of practical identity of theme. 
Thus the list of characters in the Adamo has abstractions like 
the World, Famine, Labour, Despair, Death : and the ap- 
pearance of these and kindred evils of life to Adam and Eve 
(Act iv., scenes 6 and 7) recalls the early drafts of the scheme of 
Paradise Lost and also the vision shown to Adam in the 
eleventh (477 99) book of the poem. Andreini makes Michael 
drive Adam and Eve out of Paradise and depicts a final struggle 
between Michael and Lucifer. Andreini's representation of the 
Serpent's temptation of Eve has been thought to have left some 
impression on the parallel scene in Paradise Lost. After the 
Fall Lucifer summons the spirits of air and fire, earth and water 
a counterpart to Paradise Regained, II. 115 et seq. And occasion- 
ally a verbal similarity arrests as where Lucifer says (iv. 2, end) 

" Let us remain in hell ! 
Since there is more content 
To live in liberty, tho' all condemn'd, 
Than, as his vassals, blest 1 " 

(" Pot, ch? I maggior contento 
viver in liberta tutti dainnati^ 
che sudditi foafi"); 
and inveighs (iv. 2) : 

" Ahi luce, ahi luce odiata ! " 
or where the Angels describe Man (n. i) : 

"For contemplation of his Maker form'd 71 
("Per contemplar del suo gran Fabro il merto"}. 

1 See I. 263, note ; but of course the idea was not peculiar to any 
writer. So tradition, literary or theological, may explain the following 
similarity, which is at least an interesting illustration of P. L. v. 688, 
699. Andreini makes Lucifer (i. 3) address his followers : 
"I am that Spirit, I, who for your sake 
Collecting dauntless courage, to the north 
Led you far distant from the senseless will 
Of him who boasts to have created heav'n." 
The reference occurs again in the Adamo, in. 8. 
Tradition also may account for another feature common to the 
Adamo, the Adatmts and Paradise Lost, viz. the long description of the 
convulsions and deterioration in the physical universe after the Fall of 


Leaving the matter for a moment we will pass to the third 
claimant, the Dutch poet, Joost van den Vondel. He was 
contemporary with Milton, and the author of a great number of 
works. Among them were several dramas on Scriptural subjects. 
With three of them Milton is supposed by some writers to have 
been acquainted. These are Lucifer (1654), a drama on the 
revolt of the angels and their fall from heaven ; John the Messenger 
(1662), and Adam in Banishment (1664). In a work published 
a few years since it was contended that Milton borrowed a good 
deal from these three poems. 

That Milton had heard of Vondel may be conceded. 
Vondel enjoyed a great reputation ; beside which, there was 
in the I7th century much intercourse between England and 
Holland, and Milton from his position as Secretary, no less 
than from his controversies with Salmasius and Morus, must 
have had his thoughts constantly directed towards the Nether- 
lands. Also, we learn that he had some knowledge of the Dutch 
language. But it will be observed that the earliest of the poems 
with which he is thought to have been too conversant, namely 
Lucifer, was not published till after his blindness, while by the 
time that the last of them, Adam in Banishment, appeared, 
Paradise Lost was almost completed. It is impossible that 
Milton read a line of the works himself ; if he knew them at all, 
it must have been through the assistance of some reader or 
translator; and considering how many details concerning the 
last years of Milton's life have survived, it is exceeding curious 
that this reader or translator should have escaped mention, and 
that the Vondelian theory should not have been heard of till a 
century after the poet's death. For there were plenty of people 
ready to do him an ill-turn and damage his repute ; and 
plagiarism from his Dutch contemporary would have been 
an excellent cry to raise. As it is, Milton's biographers and 
contemporaries Phillips, Aubrey, Toland, Antony a Wood, 
are absolutely silent on the subject. Phillips indeed and 
Toland expressly mention the languages in which Milton used 
to have works read to him. The list is extensive : it includes 
Hebrew, Syriac, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish and French : 


and it does not include Dutch. I think that this fact tells 
heavily against the hypothesis of Milton's indebtedness to 
Vondel. Still, it must be admitted that critics of eminence 
accept it. 

There remains the so-called Caedmon Paraphrase. In the 
Bodleian is the manuscript of an Old English metrical Para- 
phrase of parts 1 of the Old Testament. This work was long 
attributed to the Northumbrian religious writer Casdmon, of 
whom Bede speaks. Caedmon lived in the seventh century. 
He is supposed to have died about 670. There is no reason for 
thinking that he was not the author of sacred poems, as Bede 
represents him to have been ; but there is also no possibility of 
believing that the Paraphrase, as we have it, was written by 
him. It is a composite work in which several hands may be 
traced, and the different styles belong to a date long subsequent 
to Casdmon 2 . The MS. was once in the possession of Archbishop 
Ussher. He presented it in 1651 to his secretary, the Teutonic 
scholar, Francis Dujon, commonly called Franciscus Junius. 
Junius published the MS. at Amsterdam in 1655. Milton never 
saw the Paraphrase in print, for the same reason that he never 
saw Vondel's Lucifer. But inasmuch as Junius had been settled 
in England since 1620, it is quite likely that he knew Milton 3 ; 
if so, he may have mentioned the Paraphrase, and even 
translated* parts of it. Here, however, as in the previous cases 
of Andreini and Vondel, we cannot get beyond conjecture, 

1 Namely Genesis, Exodus and Daniel. It is the paraphrase of 
Genesis that would have concerned Milton most. 

2 See the article by Mr Henry Bradley in the Dictionary of National 
Biography. There is also a good discussion of the authorship of the 
work in the Appendix to Professor Ten Brink's Early English Lite- 

3 This was first pointed out by Sharon Turner; see also Masson, 
Life, vi. 557. 

4 In a very ingenious paper in Anglia, iv. pp. 401 405, Professor 
Wuelcker argues that Milton had not much knowledge of Anglo-Saxon. 
In his History of Britain he habitually quotes Latin Chronicles, and 
in one place virtually admits that an Old English chronicle was not 
intelligible to him. 


since there is no actual record or external evidence of Milton's 
acquaintance with the Paraphrase or its translator. 

These then are the four possible ' sources ' of Paradise Lost 
seemingly most deserving of mention ; and of them the Adamus 
Exul and the Adamo strike me as unquestionably the most 
important, for various reasons. Milton's acquaintance with them 
may be referred to the early period when the influence on him 
of other writers would be greatest. The Adamus and the Adamo 
both present some points of resemblance to the early drafts of 
Paradise Lost. With the Adamus there is the special con- 
sideration of Milton's personal knowledge and admiration of 
its author. With the Adamo^ apart from the possibility that 
Voltaire's story had some basis, there is the consideration of 
Milton's special devotion to Italian literature. With neither is 
there, at least not in the same degree as in the case of Vondel's 
works and the Csedmon Paraphrase, the difficulty involved by 
the poet's blindness. That he knew the Adamus^ and the Adamo 
appears to me, now, hardly an open question. In these and 
similar works disinterred by the industry of Milton's editors lay 
the general conception, the theological machinery, the cosmic 
and supra-cosmic scene of a poem on the Fall of Man. So 
much is simply a matter of history ; and to claim for Milton or 
any other writer who chose this theme the merit of absolute 
originality is simply to ignore history. The composition of 
religious poetry was the great literary activity of the earlier part 
of the 1 7th century, and Milton did on the grand scale what others 
did on the lower. The work of these lesser writers could not be 
without its influence on him, since no poet can detach himself from 
the conditions of his age or the associations of a subject that 
has become common property and passed into a convention. 
But that the qualities which have made Paradise Lost 
immortal were due, in the faintest degree, to any other genius 

1 As regards the Adamus Exul William Lauder had some case, but 
spoilt it by his forgeries ; for a sample of his libellous malevolence see i. 
7 6!_6 3j note. Todd (n. 585 89) has an Appendix on " Lauder 's 


than that of Milton himself: this is a fond delusion, vainly 
imagined, without warranty, and altogether to be cast out. 

We must indeed recognise in Paradise Lost, the meeting- 
point of Renaissance and Reformation, the impress of four 
great influences : the Bible, the classics, the Italian poets, 
and English literature. Of the Bible Milton possessed a 
knowledge such as few have had. There are hundreds of 
allusions to it : the words of Scripture underlie some part of the 
text of every page of Paradise Lost ; and apart from verbal 
reminiscences there is much of the spirit that pervades that 
noblest achievement of the English tongue. Scarcely less 
powerful was the influence of the classics. Milton's allusiveness 
extends over the whole empire of classical humanity and letters, 
and to the scholar his work is full of the exquisite charm of 
endless reference to the noblest things that the ancients have 
thought and said. That he was deeply versed in Italian poetry 
the labours of his early editors have abundantly proved ; and 
their comparative studies are confirmed by the frequent mention 
of Dante 1 , Petrarch, Tasso, Ariosto and others in his prose works 
and correspondence. In English literature I imagine that he 
had read everything worth reading. Without doubt, he was 

1 See Dr Paget Toynbee's Dante in English Literature, I. 2, 120, 
486, II. 587. Among the points noted are these : Dante resemblances 
occur in Milton's early poems before his visit to Italy ; in his Common- 
place Book Milton illustrates his views several times by references to 
Dante ; his rendering of three lines of the Inferno in his treatise Of 
Reformation (see P. L. III. 444 97, note) is the first instance of the use 
of blank verse as a medium for the translation of Dante and may have 
suggested the use of that metre to Gary ; Milton was one of the first 
English poets to use Dante's terza rima see his translation of Psalm ii., 
headed " Done August 8, 1653. Terzetri." Dr Toynbee also states that 
Milton's copy (the 3rd ed., Venice, 1529) of the Convivio is extant: 
" Milton has written his name in the book and the date, 1629. The 
volume belonged to Heber [the book-collector, half-brother of the 
bishop], and was sold at his sale in 1834." It contained also the 
Sonnets (1563) of the Italian poet Casa and the marginal markings, 
if made by Milton, show that he had " read the Sonnets with great 


most affected by "our admired Spenser 1 ." He was, says 
Dryden, "the poetical son of Spenser. Milton has acknow- 
ledged to me that Spenser was his original." And there was a 
Spenserian school of poets, mostly Cambridge men, and some 
of them contemporary with Milton at the University, with 
whose works he evidently had a considerable acquaintance. 
Among these the two Fletchers were conspicuous Giles 
Fletcher, author of the sacred poems Chrisfs Victorie on Earth 
and Chrtsfs Triumph in Heaven ; and Phineas Fletcher, 
author of The Purple Island. The influence of the Fletchers 
is manifest in Milton's early poems 2 , and it is traceable in 
Paradise Lost. Finally, we must not forget Sylvester. Joshua 
Sylvester (of whom little is known beyond that he was born in 
1563, died in 1618, and diversified the profession of merchant 
with the making of much rhyme) translated into exceedingly 
Spenserian verse The Divine Weeks and Works of the French 
poet, Du Bartas 3 . The subject of this very lengthy work is the 
story of Creation, with the early history of the Jews. The 
translation was amazingly popular. Dryden confessed that he 
had once preferred Sylvester to Spenser 4 . There is no doubt 

1 Animadversions, P. W. in. 84. On Milton's feeling for Spenser 
see the note to // Penseroso, 1 16 20. 

3 See the Introductions to Comus and Lycidas. Phineas Fletcher's 
Apollyonists might also be mentioned (see u. 650, 746, notes). Besides 
the Fletchers, there was Henry More, the famous " Cambridge 
Platonist." Milton must have known him at Christ's College. 

3 Sylvester translated a good deal from Du Bartas beside the Divine 
Weeks ; and rhymed on his own account. The first collected edition of 
his translation of the Divine Weeks was published in 16051606, 
instalments having appeared between 1592 and 1599. Dr Grosart 
collected Sylvester's works into two bulky volumes. 

4 Spenser himself admired Du Bartas greatly; see the Envoy 
addressed to the French poet Bellay at the end of The Ruines of Rome. 

In a paper read before the British Academy on some MS. notes, 
"dealing mainly with the place of astronomy in poetry," by Spenser's 
Cambridge friend Gabriel Harvey, Professor Gollancz gave the following 
extract referring to Du Bartas and Spenser : 

"Mr Digges hath the whole Aquarius of Palingenius by heart, 


that Milton studied The Divine Weeks in his youth. " That Poem 
hath ever had many great admirers among us " is the suggestive 
comment of his nephew Edward Phillips. It is certainly one 
of the works 1 whereof account must be taken in any attempt to 
estimate the literary influences that moulded Milton's style. 

But a writer may be influenced by others, and not 'pla- 
giarise'; and it is well to remember that from Vergil downwards 
the great poets have exercised their royal right of adapting the 
words of their forerunners and infusing into them a fresh charm 
and suggestion, since in allusion lies one of the chief delights of 
literature. It is well, also, to realise wherein lies the greatness 
of Paradise Lost, and to understand that all the borrowing in 
the world could not contribute a jot to the qualities which have 
rendered the epic " a possession for ever." What has made the 
poem live is not the story, nobly though that illustrates the 
eternal antagonism of righteousness and wrong, and the over- 
throw of evil ; nor the construction, though this is sufficiently 
architectonic ; nor the learning, though this is vast ; nor the 
characterisation, for which there is little scope : not these things, 
though all are factors in the greatness of the poem, and in all 
Milton rises to the height of his argument but the incom- 
parable elevation of the style, " the shaping spirit of Imagina- 
tion, " and the mere majesty of the music. 

and takes much delight to repeat it often. Mr Spenser conceives the 
like pleasure in the fourth day of the first Week of Bartas which he 
esteems as the proper profession of Urania." 

1 See some remarks and illustrations in Professor Mackail's The 
Springs of Helicon (1909), pp. 195, 196. 

P. L. 




A sketch of the action of the whole poem, following the 
sequence of the twelve books, may be useful to those who are 
acquainted only with parts of Paradise Lost : 

I. The scene Hell the time nine days after the expulsion 
of Satan and his followers from Heaven. They lie on the 
burning lake, stupefied. Satan first recovers, rouses Beelzebub, 
discusses with him their position, and then makes his way from 
the lake to a " dreary plain " of dry land. Beelzebub follows ; 
Satan calls to his comrades to do likewise. Rising on the wing 
they reach the same firm land. Their numbers and names 
described. They range themselves in battle-array before Satan, 
who addresses them. They may still (he says) regain Heaven ; 
or there may be other worlds to win in particular, a new world, 
inhabited by new-created beings, of which report had spoken : 
let these matters be duly conferred of. Straightway, a vast 
palace Pandemonium is made, to serve as council-chamber. 
Here a council is held ; only the great Angels are present. 

II. The scene at first Pandemonium ; the debate begins. 
Satan invites their counsel "who can advise may speak." 
Moloch, Belial and Mammon speak their several counsels : 
last Beelzebub, who reverts to Satan's hint of the new world. 
Why not ruin it ? or make it their own ? or win its inhabitants 
to their side? What better revenge against the Almighty? 
The plan approved but who will discover this world ? None 
volunteer : and then Satan offers to undertake the journey. 
His offer accepted; the council leaving Pandemonium breaks 
up ; the result announced to the rest of the Angels. How they 
pass the time till his return some exploring Hell (now more 
closely described). Meanwhile he reaches Hell-gates, is suffered 
to pass by Sin and Death, voyages through Chaos (described), 
and at last comes within sight of the Universe hung in space 
(i.e. Chaos). We leave him directing his course towards the 


III. The scene at first Heaven. The Almighty perceives 
Satan, points him out to the Son, tells what his design is, and 
its destined success ; tells also that Man will be saved ultimately 
if he can find a Redeemer. " The Son of God freely offers 
himself a ransom for Man " ; is accepted by the Father, and 
praised by the Angelic host. Meanwhile the scene changing 
Satan, having reached the outer surface (described) of the 
Universe, wanders through various regions (described), until, 
coming to the single opening in the surface, he descends into 
the inside of the Universe. He arrives at the sphere of the 
Sun ; disguising himself as a young Angel from Heaven, en- 
quires from Uriel, the Sun-spirit, the way to Earth pretending 
" desire to behold the new Creation " ; is directed by Uriel, 
descends again, and alights on Mt Niphates. 

IV. There, pausing awhile, he gives way to regret that he 
has rebelled, and rage at his outcast state ; passion distorts his 
face, so that Uriel, watching, now knows him for an evil spirit. 
Thence, recovering self-control, Satan journeys on towards 
Eden, the main scene (described) ; sees Adam and Eve (famous 
description of them) ; overhears what they say concerning the 
Tree of Knowledge, and perceives at once the means whereby 
to compass their fall At nightfall he essays to tempt Eve in a 
dream ; is discovered by Gabriel, who, warned by Uriel, has 
descended to Eden to defend Man. A battle between Satan 
and Gabriel imminent, but averted. Satan flies. 

V The scene still Eden. A further picture of Adam and 
Eve their worship and work. Raphael (the scene having 
changed for a brief space to Heaven) comes to warn them of 
their danger, at the bidding of the Almighty so that Man, if he 
falls, may fall knowingly, by his own fault. Raphael received 
and entertained ; admonishes Adam ; explains who his enemy 
is, and why . which leads to an account of the rebellion in 
Heaven its beginning described. 

VI. The scene of the events narrated by Raphael Heaven. 
He describes the three days' war in Heaven, at the end of which 
Satan and his followers were cast into Hell. The warning to 
Adam repeated. 


VII. The scene Eden. Raphael describes the Creation of 
the World, which is accomplished by the Son of God. 

VIII. The scene the same. Adam enquires concerning 
the stars and Heavenly bodies ; Raphael answers doubtfully. 
Adam recounts his own first experience of Eden how the 
Almighty forbade him to touch the Tree of Knowledge, under 
pain of what penalty ; how he first saw Eve. The day declines, 
and Raphael departs once more warning Adam. 

IX. The scene the same. "Adam and Eve... go forth to 
their labours, which Eve proposes to divide in several places, 
each labouring apart." Adam dissuades ; she persisting, he 
yields. So Satan (in the form of a serpent) finds her alone and 
tempts her. She eats of the fruit and induces Adam to do so. 
Their sense of sin and shame. 

X. The Son of God descends to Eden, and pronounces 
doom on Adam and Eve and the Serpent. Meanwhile Satan, 
returning to Pandemonium, announces the result of his journey, 
and lo ! on a sudden he and his followers are changed to reptiles. 
Sin and Death now ascend from Hell to Eden, to claim the 
World as theirs ; but the Almighty foretells their ultimate over- 
throw by the Son, and commands the Angels to make changes 
in the elements and stars, whereby the Earth becomes less fair. 
The repentance of Adam and Eve, who seek comfort in suppli- 
cation of the Deity. The scene has changed often. 

XI. The Son interceding, the Father sends Michael to 
Eden (henceforth the scene) to reveal the future to Adam 
above all, his hope of redemption. After announcing to Adam 
his approaching banishment from Eden, Michael takes him to a 
high mountain and unrolls before him a vision of the World's 
history till the Flood. 

XII. Then he traces the history of Israel after the Flood, 
till the coming of Christ, with the subsequent progress of Chris- 
tianity : ending with renewed promise of redemption. The fiery 
Cherubim now descend. Michael leads Adam and Eve to the 
gates of Eden ; and they go forth, sad yet consoled with the 
hope of salvation at the last. 



Milton's attitude towards rhyme reminds us of the condem- 
nations showered on it by Elizabethan critics. Ascham in the 
Schoolmaster (1570) sneers at "our rude beggerly ryming, brought 
first into Italic by Gothes and Hunnes, whan all good verses 
and all good learning to, were destroyed by them... and at last 
receyued into England by men of excellent wit indeede, but of 
small learning, and lesse judgement in that behalfe." "Barba- 
rous " is his darling epithet for rhymed verse. Puttenham is of 
a like mind, waving aside " the rhyming poesie of the barbarians,'"' 
and Webbe in his Discourse of English Poetry (1586) takes up 
the tale, ridiculing it as " tinkerly verse " " brutish poesie " 
" a great decay of the good order of versifying." Why Milton 
should have adopted the same position as these Elizabethan 
critics who approached the question in a spirit of the merest 
pedantry, and based their objections to rhyme solely on the 
fact that, as a metrical principle, it was not employed by the 
ancients, it is not easy to say. He uses rhyme occasionally in 
Samson Agonistes, in spite of his denunciation of it here ; and 
his own early poems are sufficient refutation of the heresy that 
therein lies " no true musical delight." Moreover, though he 
appeals to the example of some European poets " 01 prime 
note" in support of his view, yet he must have foreseen the 
obvious and just retort that the weight of " custom " was against 
him, and that, in particular, the Italian exponents 01 versi 
sciolti whom he could cite on his side made a poor showing 
beside those great masters of rhyme Dante, Ariosto, Tasso 1 
to whom he himself owed so much. His contemptuous dis- 
missal of what " in every country of modern Europe had been 
adopted as the basis of metrical composition 2 " was ^character- 
istic touch of his resentment of criticism and defiance of 

1 See, however, p. 367. 

2 Courthope. 


There is a polemical tone in his remarks, as though he were 
replying to some unnamed antagonist ; and I cannot help 
thinking that this preface was meant to be his contribution to 
the controversy then raging over the comparative advantages of 
rhymed and unrhymed metres on the stage. In fact, significant 
in itself, Milton's opinion becomes doubly so if regarded from 
the standpoint of his contemporaries. Hardly could they fail to 
see in it a retort to what Dryden had written in the behalf of 
rhyme notably in his Essay of Dramatic Poesy (1665), in 
which the rhymed couplet had been set forth as the best vehicle 
of dramatic expression. In play after play Dryden had put his 
theory into practice : others had followed his example : to 
rhyme or not to rhyme that had become the great question; 
and here was Milton brushing the matter on one side as of no 
moment, with the autocratic dictum that rhyme was a vain and 
fond thing with which a " sage and serious " poet need have no 
commerce. His readers must have detected the contemporary 
application of his words just as later on they must have 
interpreted his preface to Samson Agonistes, with its pointed 
eulogy of the Greek stage and its depreciation of Restoration 
tragedy (and "other common interludes"), as a counterblast to 
the comparison which Dryden had drawn between the modern 
and the classical drama, in the interests of the former. There 
is force too in the suggestion that the association of rhyme 
with the amatory Caroline poets (Lycidas, 67 69) would not 
make Milton more favourable to it. 

Curiously enough, Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained\)Q\h 
contain a good deal of rhyme. We may compare it with the rare 
rhymed verse, accidental or designed (" leonine "), in the Latin 
poets. Cowper noted some instances in his fragment of a com- 
mentary on Paradise Lost. " Rhyme," he said, " is apt to come 
uncalled, and to writers of blank verse is often extremely trouble- 
some 1 .''' Indeed complete absence of rhyme argues some artifici- 
ality. To quote Mr Robert Bridges: "Rhyme occurs in. Paradise 

1 "The blank verse Italians have often done this [i.e. rhymed] : in 
fact, it is excessively difficult to prevent in Italian " (Saintsbury). 


L0st(see l. 146, 8, 51; II. 220, i; IV. 2427), but only as a natural 
richness among the varieties of speech ; and it would seem that 
it cannot be forbidden in a long poem but by the scrupulosity 
which betrays art." Possibly, however, the amount of rhyme 
in the two epics exceeds what Milton would have desired. It 
illustrates, I think, the terrible difficulty of revision imposed by 
his blindness. Yet such is the spell of the rhythm of his verse 
that one may be unconscious of the rhyme till its presence 
is pointed out. Of consecutive rhymed lines, some being actual 
rhymed couplets, the following passages are examples : Paradise 
Lost, ii. 220, 221 ; iv. 956, 957 ; vi. 709, 710 ; ix. 105, 106, 477, 
478; XI. 230, 231, 597, 598, 671, 672; Paradise Regained, in. 214, 
215; IV. 591, 592. In ii. 893, 894, a slight difference of pronun- 
ciation, indicated by Milton's spelling, may account for what 
appears to the eye as a couplet. In v. 167, 168, 274, 275, 
IX. 191, 192, the assonance has the effect of rhyme. Of course, 
the most frequent rhyme is that which comes with an interval of 
one or two intervening lines, as in two out of the three passages 
remarked by Mr Bridges. Other examples 1 are: Paradise Lost, 
I. 274, 276, 711,7135 764, 767; II. 390, 393, 942, 9445 ni. 140, 142, 

l68, 170; IV. 222, 224, 288, 290, 678, 680; V. 1 60, 162, 383, 385, 

857, 859; vi. 14, 1 6, 161, 163, 174, 176; viii. i, 3, 171, 173, 229, 

231; IX. 590, 591, 606, 608; XL 201, 204, 206, 637, 639, 740, 741; 

XIL 353, 355> 366, 368; Paradise Regained, II. 206, 208, 245, 247, 
250; IV. 25, 27, 145, 147, 222, 224. As remarked before, I cannot 
help thinking that a portion of this rhyme represents Milton's 
inability to focus the full measure of his fastidious taste 2 on the 
revision of his work. 

Superfluous as it may seem to us that he should justify his 
adoption of blank verse wherein his surpassing skill is the 
best of all justifications we have cause to be grateful to the 
"stumblings" of the unlettered which led him to write this 

1 The list is illustrative, not exhaustive. 

2 It would have resented surely the substitution of Chersonese in 
most modern texts for the Chersoness of the original editions in 
Paradise Regained, iv. 74. See the termination of the previous line. 


preface, since it happily defines the qualities for which the metre 
of Paradise Lost is remarkable. 

The distinguishing characteristic of Milton's blank verse is 
his use of what Mr Saintsbury calls the verse-paragraph. 
Blank verse is exposed to two dangers : it may be formal and 
stiff by being circumscribed in single lines or couplets; or 
diffuse and formless through the sense and rhythm being carried 
on beyond the couplet. In its earlier stages, exemplified by 
works like Gorboduc, the metre suffered from the former 
tendency. It either closed with a strong pause at the end of 
every line, or just struggled to the climax of the couplet. 
Further it never extended until Marlowe took the " drumming 
decasyllabon " into his hands, broke up the fetters of the 
couplet-form, and by the process of overflow carried on the 
rhythm from verse to verse according as the sense required. 
It is in his plays that we first get verse in which variety of 
cadence and pause and beat takes the place of rhyme. Milton 
entered on the heritage that Marlowe and Shakespeare be- 
queathed, and brought blank verse to its highest pitch of 
perfection as an instrument of narration. 

Briefly, that perfection lies herein : if we examine a page of 
Paradise Lost we find that what the poet has to say is, for the 
most part, conveyed, not in single lines, nor in rigid couplets 
but in flexible combinations of verses, which wait upon his 
meaning, not twisting or constraining the sense, but suffering it 
to be " variously drawn out," so that the thought is merged in 
its expression. 

These combinations, or paragraphs, are informed by a 
perfect internal concent and rhythm 1 held together by a chain 
of harmony With a writer less sensitive to sound this free 
method of versifying would result in mere chaos. But Milton's 
ear is so delicate, that he steers unfaltering through the long, 
involved passages, distributing the pauses and rests and allitera- 

1 Cf. Professor Mackail's fine metaphor for it "the planetary 
wheeling of the long period " " that continuous planetary movement" 
(Lecture II. on Milton in The Springs of Helicon, pp. 156, 196). 


tive balance with a cunning which knits the paragraph into a 
coherent, regulated whole. He combines, in fact, the two es- 
sential qualities of blank verse freedom and form : the freedom 
that admits variety of effect, without which a long narrative 
becomes intolerably monotonous ; and the form which saves an 
unrhymed measure from drifting into that which is nearer to 
bad prose than to good verse. And restoration of form was 
precisely what the metre needed. With the later Jacobean and 
Caroline dramatists metrical freedom had turned to "licence 
and slipshodness...then comes Milton,... takes non-dramatic 
blank verse in hand once for all, and introduces into it the 
order, proportion, and finish which dramatic blank verse had 
then lost 1 ." Milton in fact was the re-creator of blank verse, 
" the first to establish this peculiarly English form of metre in 
non-dramatic poetry 1 ." Nor was he unconscious of the character 
of his achievement. Here, in the last lines of his preface, he 
congratulates himself upon "an example set"; and many years 
before, in the grand passage apostrophising the Divine Goodness 
at the end of the treatise Of Reformation, he had written, with 
obvious reference to the great design that ruled his whole life : 
" Then, amidst the hymns and hallelujahs of saints, some one 
may perhaps be heard offering at high strains in new and 
lofty measure to sing and celebrate thy divine mercies and 
marvellous judgments in this land throughout all ages 2 ." It 
were hard to frame an apter summary of the metre of Paradise 
Lost than "-new and lofty." 

As he lays such stress upon the internal economy and 
balance of his verse-paragraphs, much must depend on the 
pause or rest which in English prosody answers, to some extent, 
to the classical ccesura. Dr Masson notes that Milton's favourite 
pause is at the end of the third foot. These are typical 
specimens : 

"I, at first, with two fair gifts 
Created him endowed | with happiness 

1 Saintsbury, History of English Prosody, n. pp. 208, 224. 

2 P. W. ii. 418. 


And immortality; | that fondly lost, 
This other served but to eternize woe, 
Till I provided death : | so death becomes 
His final remedy" | (xi. 57 62). 

Next in frequency comes the pause after the second foot; cf. 

"ere fallen 
From innocence " | (xi. 29, 30). 

" Made one with me, | as I with thee am one " (xi. 44). 

Scarcely need we say that in this, as in everything else, 
Milton never forgets that variety of effect is essential. 

It remains to note two other remarks made by Milton. 
One of the elements, he says, of "true musical delight" is 
"fit quantity of syllables." By this, I think, he meant that 
every word should bear its natural accent, i.e. that a word 
should not be forced by the exigence of the metre to bear 
an accent alien to it. Rather, a poet should be careful to 
"span words with just note and accent 1 ," so that each stress 
should fall naturally, and the " fit quantity " of the component 
parts of a line not be violated. Considering the length of 
Paradise Lost, it is marvellous how he maintains an unfaltering 
appropriateness of accent. But another interpretation of his 
words is possible, namely that by " fit quantity of syllables " he 
meant "that blank verse might be extended beyond the usual 
number of ten syllables when its sense and feeling so required 2 ." 
Taken in this way, "quantity" would have reference to the 
trisyllabic element in his verse by which the number of syllables 
in a line is increased, and perhaps more obviously to the 
hypermetrical element. 

One peculiarity of the metre of Paradise Lost, pointed out 
by Coleridge, is the rarity of verses with an extra syllable (or 
two extra syllables) at the close. Shakespeare, of course, uses 

1 Sonnet to Henry Lawes. 

2 Courthope, History of English Poetry, III. 428. Personally I 
think that in a specifically metrical context " quantity " conveys the 
notion "long" or "short," i.e. with or without accent (stress). 


them freely especially in his later plays, and the percentage of 
them in Comus and Samson Agonistes is high. But in Paradise 
Lost Milton avoids them. There are several varieties of this 
extra-syllable verse e.g. lines (i) where the supernumerary 
syllable comes at the close ; (ii) where it comes in the course 
of the line, particularly after the second foot ; (iii) where there 
are two extra syllables at the end, as in the line, "Like one j that 
means | his projper harm, | in ?s\&.nacles" (Coriolanus, I. 9. 57) ; 
and (iv) where there are two extra syllables in the middle, as in 
Coriolanus, I. i. 230, "Our must|y su|perfluz/y |. See our | best 
elders." In Comus there are examples of all four varieties : in 
Paradise Lost of only two 1 (i) and (iii). This paucity is an 
illustration of what must be recognised as. the great metrical 
feature of the epic that its metre is mainly iambic, and conse- 
quently decasyllabic in character. Such verse has a slower, 
statelier movement, and is therefore appropriate to a narrative 
poem that deals with the loftiest themes in an elevated, solemn 
style. Verse, on the other hand, that admits the supernumerary 
syllable at the close of the line tends towards a conversational 
rapidity of rhythm which makes it suitable for the purposes of 
the dramatist. It is typical of Milton's "inevitable," almost 
infallible, art that he should vary his style so precisely to fit the 
several characteristics and requirements of the drama and of 
epic narration. Such variation illustrates "a quality for which 
he seldom or never gets the full credit due to him, a dramatic 
sense of extreme delicacy. With him, as with Sophocles, this 
quality is so fine that it may easily elude observation 2 ." 

Again, another element of the pleasure offered by poetry 
lies in "apt numbers." Here Milton referred to that adaptation 
of expression to subject whereby the sound becomes an echo to 
the sense. This adaptation is shown in its simplest form by the 

1 In most of the cases of one extra syllable it ,is a present participle 
that is affected. I believe that the cases with two such syllables are 
in Milton confined to words like society ; cf. P. R. I. 302, " Such 
solitude before choicest socutfy." So in P. L. vill. 216. Of course in 
these cases an " Alexandrine " solves the difficulty. 

2 The Springs of Helicon, p. 175 (see also p. 178). 


suggestion of specific effects such as movement or sound 1 . 
But it dominates the whole relation of the manner to the matter. 
No one has understood the art of blending the thought with 
its expression better than Milton. " What other poets effect,' 3 
says Dr Guest 2 , "as it were by chance, Milton achieved by the 
aid of science and art ; he studied the aptness of his numbers, 
and diligently tutored an ear which nature had gifted with the 
most delicate sensibility. In the flow of his rhythm, in the 
quality of his letter sounds, in the disposition of his pauses, his 
verse almost ever fits the subject, and so insensibly does 
poetry blend with this the last beauty of exquisite versifica- 
tion that the reader may sometimes doubt whether it be the 
thought itself, or merely the happiness of its expression, which 
is the source of a gratification so deeply felt." 

We have seen that Milton may have had in view the scan- 
sion of his verse when he referred to the "fit quantity of syllables." 
That scansion has as its basic principle the "pure iambic" 
carmen iambicum so much canvassed by Elizabethan metricists. 
This stately, self-contained line of five feet in rising rhythm 
"O Prince, O chief of many throned powers " lies at the centre 
of the prosody of Paradise Lost. So much is patent; nor are the 
main means by which it is varied obscure. By letting the lines 
run on so that the rhythm of the unit of five feet passes into the 
richer harmony of groups of units Milton gives us the "verse- 
paragraph." And by substituting each of the possible variations 
of the disyllabic foot namely, the trochee (or inversion of 
rhythm), the spondee and the pyrrhic he tempers the monotony 
of a single-foot measure to " stops of various quills." But these 
foot-modifications had become part of the machinery of blank 

1 Cf. e.g. i. 742 46, 768, ii. 947 50, 1021, 1022, vii. 495 (note), 
X. 521 28 (note). So in II. 641 we get the sense of vast space; in n. 
879 83 of combined movement and jarring noise ; in n. 890 906 of 
confusion; iniv. i8i(note) of scornful laughter; in vii. 480 of length. 
A very elaborate example (admirably analysed in Mayor's Modern 
English Metre, pp. 99 106) is the description of the march of the fallen 
angels in I. 549 62. 

2 English Rhythms, p. 530. 


verse as developed since the pioneer days. There is nothing 
specifically Miltonic about the use of them in Paradise Lost, 
except possibly as regards the spondee. Cowper was in- 
clined to think that " the grand secret to which his [Milton's] 
verse is principally indebted for its stately movement " is the 
frequent employment of spondaic feet : " the more long syllables 
there are in a verse, the more the line of it is protracted, and 
consequently the pace, with which it moves, is the more majestic." 
That Milton's use of the trochee (or rare double trochee) was 
due to the partiality of the Italians for this foot seems a needless 
assumption, the trochee having been firmly established by 
Marlowe. And "pyrrhic" is merely a rather pedantic-sounding 
term for a quite ordinary feature of blank verse namely, the 
occurrence of a foot with a weak stress. Dr Abbott estimates 
that of Shakespeare's lines " rather less than one of three has 
the full number of five emphatic accents." I doubt whether the 
instances are so frequent in Milton; but they are sufficiently 
common to make it desirable to remember that five stresses are 
not indispensable rather that for variety's sake it is necessary 
that one or more should occasionally be remitted. Taken as a 
whole, the obviously disyllabic element of Milton's poetry does 
not present much difficulty : the crux lies in the less obviously 
trisyllabic strata. 

This is a subject on which irreconcilable opinions are held ; 
the Miltonic blank verse described by Dr Masson is simply a 
different thing from the Miltonic blank verse described by Mr 
Bridges ; and the essential truth seems to me to lie very much 
nearer to the views of the latter critic. I think that Milton 
himself would have been astonished at the elaborate trisyllabic 
apparatus bacchics and amphibrachs and cretics rare with 
which the verse of Paradise Lost has been credited. The base- 
principle of the slow-moving, majestic iambic decasyllabic is 
lost in the mazes of so complex a system. On the other hand, 
to attempt to ban the trisyllabic foot altogether from his metre 
involves impossible twistings and distortions. We shall not be 
far astray if we steer a middle course and admit the anapaest 


(" the foot-of-all-work of English prosody ") and (to a much less 
important share) the dactyl and the tribrach 1 . These may be 
taken to represent collectively "the trisyllabic foot, which was 
inherent in the nature of the [English] language, and had 
been recognised by long poetical usage 2 ." It reproduces "the 
swift triple rhythm 2 " of Old English poetry, while the iambic 
element corresponds with the typical movement of the Greek 
senarius. And in the verse of Paradise Lost it is the iambic 
movement that prevails, especially perhaps in the first six books, 
which are cast more in the typically grand Miltonic manner 
than the second half of the poem, where the less impressive 
and less coherent interest of the subject is reflected in the style. 
But the measure of this iambic predominance depends on the 
degree to which the principle of elision of vowels applies. 

"Elision" comprehends not merely the cases where a vowel 
must be dropped altogether in pronunciation, but those more 
numerous cases where the metre indicates, or seems to indicate, 
that a vowel has something less than its normal quantitative 
value, so that it is either slurred or made almost to coalesce 
with a preceding or succeeding sound. Such elision resolves 
itself practically into cases of the open vowel and the vowel 
(or double vowel) followed by a liquid. Elision of the former 
type belongs to poetic usage, of the latter to the currency 
of everyday speech ; and each is permissive, not obligatory. 
Moreover, elision is a matter of scansion, not necessarily of 
pronunciation and reading. It is, I think, perfectly true to say 
that "Milton came to scan his verses one way, and read 
them another." But is it not true of all poetic elision ? Who 

1 See Saintsbury, A History of English Prosody, I. 403, II. -259, 260. 

2 Courthope. Compare also Mayor (Modem English Metre, p. 15): 
"Anapaestic rhythm was familiar to the Elizabethan poets, not merely 
from its use by older writers, such as the author of Piers Ploughman, 
but from the later ' tumbling verse ' as used by Skelton and Udall." 
And again (p. 44): "Trisyllabic rhythm is a marked feature of the 
Old English alliterative verse, and of the * tumbling measure ' which 
followed it." 


knows what precisely happened to the elided vowels of Greek 
and Latin verse ? Metrically their suppression may have been 
absolute, as it is (I am told) in Greek MSS. : but in actual 
declamation? Similarly, though I cannot doubt that Milton 

scanned "th' Aonian mount" and "th' oblivious pool," yet I 
should not like to say that he read the words so. Nor should I 
like to have to determine whether in scansion he extended this 
principle of the elision of the open vowel beyond monosyllables 
like the and to and the terminally which slides so easily into a 
vowel at the beginning of the next word. Thus it satisfies my 

"gross unpurged ear" to scan "Who highly thus t' entitle me 
vouchsaf'st" (X. 170) ; but to wrest an iambus out of the second 
foot of the line " Virtue in her shape how lovely ; saw and pined " 
(IV. 848) by eliding the double vowel ue (" Virtue in | her shape") 
seems a needless violence, when the easy access of the anapaest 
(" Virtue | in her shape ") solves all. And so with many another 

Some light is thrown on this difficult question of Milton's 
elisions by the Cambridge autographs of his earlier poems. The 
evidence, indeed, is not conclusive because the MSS. are not 
consistent in giving always an elided form where the metre 
requires one as an alternative to a trisyllabic scansion. But one 
cannot help drawing some, inference from elisions like "Tem- 
per'd to th' oaten flute," and elided forms such as watrie 
ivestringbatning -juandring toured, and the many con- 
tractions of the inflections of verbs, such as honour'st turtst 
forttnur'ststooptstolne dan'ct\ With some of these 
examples before us, it is not hard to conjecture how Milton 
would have scanned, say, Paradise Lost, xi. 779, " Wandering 
that watery desert ; I had hope." Similarly when we come 
across lines of the epic in which Heaven appears to be equivalent 
to a monosyllable, it is apposite to remember that his autograph 
has heavn in the prose draft of Adam unparaditfd (line 2). 

1 Cf. Lycidas, 4, 12, 23, 29, 31, 33; Arcades^ 21; Cornus, 39; 
Sonnets n. and XIII. 


# in the prose draft of Isaac redeemd serves as a metrical 
gloss on i. 84, " If thou beest he but Oh how fallen ! how 
changed ! " The drift of such elisions and contractions is 
obviously to diminish the trisyllabic element, and maintain that 
iambic rhythm which was ever present 1 to Milton's ear and ever 
wafting the proud full sail of his verse. 

1 Two groups of exceptions to the general movement of his lines 
have been remarked, viz. passages where he indulges his taste for 
sonorous proper names, and passages " where he follows the Authorised 
Version of the Bible especially where the speaker is the Deity." 



Oui legis Amissam Paradisum, grandia magni 

Carmina Miltoni, quid nisi cuncta legis? 
Res cunctas, et cunctarum primordia rerum, 

Et fata, et fines, continet iste liber. 
Intima panduntur magni penetralia mundi, 

Scribitur et toto quicquid in orbe latet ; 
Terraeque, tractusque maris, ccelumque profundum, 

Sulphureumque Erebi flammivomumque specus; 
Quaeque colunt terras, pontumque, et Tartara caeca, 

Quaeque colunt summi lucida regna poli ; 10 

Et quodcunque ullis conclusum est finibus usquam ; 

Et sine fine Chaos, et sine fine Deus ; 
Et sine fine magis, si quid magis est sine fine, 

In Christo erga homines conciliatus amor. 
Haec qui speraret quis crederet esse futurum? 

Et tamen haec hodie terra Britanna legit. 
O quantos in bella duces, quae protulit arma! 

Quae canit, et quanta, praelia dira tuba! 
Ccelestes acies, atque in certamine ccelum! 

Et quae coelestes pugna deceret agros! 20 

Quantus in setheriis tollit se Lucifer armis, 

Atque ipso graditur vix Michaele minor! 

P. L. I 


Ouantis et quam funestis concurritur iris, 

Dum ferus hie Stellas protegit, ille rapit! 
Dum vulsos montes ceu tela reciproca torquent, 

Et non mortali desuper igne pluunt : 
Stat dubius cui se parti concedat Olympus, 

Et metuit pugnre non superesse suae. 
At simul in ccelis Messiae insignia fulgent, 

Et currus animes, armaque digna Deo, 30 

Horrendumque rotae strident, et saeva rotarum 

Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus, 
Et flammae vibrant, et vera tonitrua rauco 

Admistis flammis insonuere polo, 
Excidit attonitis mens omnis, et impetus omnis, 

Et cassis dextris irrita tela cadunt ; 
Ad pcenas fugiunt, et, ceu foret Orcus asylum, 

Infernis certant condere se tenebris. 
Cedite, Romani Scriptores ; cedite, Graii ; 

Et quos fama recens vel celebravit anus : 40 

Haec quicunque leget tantum cecinisse putabit 

Mieonidem ranas, Virgilium culices. 

S. B., M.D. 


WHEN I beheld the Poet blind, yet bold, 

In slender book his vast design unfold, 

Messiah crowned, God's reconciled decree, 

Rebelling Angels, the Forbidden Tree, 

Heaven, Hell, Earth, Chaos, all ; the argument 

Held me a while misdoubting his intent, 

That he would ruin (for I saw him strong) 

The sacred truths to fable and old song 

(So Samson groped the temple's posts in spite), 

The world o'ei whelming to revenge his sight. 10 


Yet as I read, soon growing less severe, 
I liked his project, the success did fear; 
Through that wide field how he his way should find 
O'er which lame Faith leads Understanding blind ; 
Lest he perplexed the things he would explain, 
And what was easy he should render vain. 

Or, if a work so infinite he spanned, 
Jealous I was that some less skilful hand 
(Such as disquiet always what is well, 
And by ill imitating would excel) 20 

Might hence presume the whole Creation's day 
To change in scenes, and show it in a play. 

Pardon me, mighty Poet; nor despise 
My causeless, yet not impious, surmise. 
But I am now convinced, and none will dare 
Within thy labours to pretend a share. 
Thou hast not missed one thought that could be fit, 
And all that was improper dost omit ; 
So that no room is here for writers left, 
But to detect their ignorance or theft. 30 

That majesty which through thy work doth reign 
Draws the devout, deterring the profane. 
And things divine thou treat'st of in such state 
As them preserves, and thee, inviolate. 
At once delight and horror on us seize ; 
Thou sing'st with so much gravity and ease, 
And above human flight dost soar aloft 
With plume so strong, so equal, and so soft. 
The bird named from that Paradise you sing 
So never flags, but always keeps on wing. 4^ 

Where could'st thou words of such a compass find? 
Whence furnish such a vast expense of mind? 
Just Heaven, thee like Tiresias to requite, 
Rewards with prophecy thy loss of sight. 

Well might'st thou scorn thy readers to allure 
With tinkling rime, of thy own sense secure ; 

I 2 


While the Town-Bayes writes all the while and spells, 

And, like a pack-horse, tires without his bells. 

Their fancies like our bushy points appear; 

The poets tag them, we for fashion wear. 50 

I too, transported by the mode, offend, 

And while I meant to praise thee, must commend. 

Thy verse created like thy theme sublime, 

In number, weight, and measure, needs not rime. 

A. M. 


The measure is English heroic verse, without rime, as that 
of Homer in Greek, and of Virgil in Latin; rime being no 
necessary adjunct or true ornament of poem or good verse, in 
longer works especially, but the invention of a barbarous age, to 
set off wretched matter and lame metre ; graced indeed since by 
the use of some famous modern poets, carried away by custom, 
but much to their own vexation, hindrance, and constraint to 
express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse, 
than else they would have expressed them. Not without cause, 
therefore, some both Italian and Spanish poets of prime note 
have rejected rime both in longer and shorter works, as have 
also, long since, our best English tragedies ; as a thing of itself, 
to all judicious ears, trivial and of no true musical delight ; 
which consists only in apt numbers, fit quantity of syllables, 
and the sense variously drawn out from one verse into another, 
not in the jingling sound of like endings, a fault avoided by the 

1 Preceded by some remarks from the publisher: 
The Printer to the Reader. 

Courteous Reader^ there was no Argument at first intended to the 
book; but for the satisfaction of many that have desired it, I have 
procured it, and withal a reason of that which stumbled many others, 
why the poem rimes not. S. Simmons. 


learned ancients both in poetry and all good oratory. This 
neglect then of rime so little is to be taken for a defect, though 
it may seem so perhaps to vulgar readers, that it rather is to be 
esteemed an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty 
recovered to heroic poem from the troublesome and modern 
bondage of riming. 



This First Book proposes, first in brief, the whole subject, Man's 
disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise, wherein he was 
placed : then touches the prime cause of his fall, the Serpent, or rather 
Satan in the Serpent; who revolting from God, and drawing to his 
side many legions of Angels, was by the command of God driven out 
of Heaven with all his crew into the great Deep. Which action passed 
over, the Poem hastes into the midst of things; presenting Satan with 
his Angels now fallen into Hell, described here, not in the Centre (for 
Heaven and Earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet 
accursed) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest called Chaos: here 
Satan with his Angels lying on the burning lake, thunderstruck and 
astonished, alter a certain space recovers, as from confusion; calls up 
him who, next in order and dignity, lay by him ; they confer of their 
miserable fall. Satan awakens all his legions, who lay till then in the 
same manner confounded; they rise: their numbers, array of battle, 
their chief leaders named, according to the idols known afterwards in 
Canaan and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his speech; 
comforts them with hope yet of regaining Heaven; but tells them lastly 
of a new world and new kind of creature to be created, according to an 
ancient prophecy or report in Heaven ; for that Angels were long before 
this visible creation was the opinion of many ancient Fathers. To find 
out the truth of this prophecy, and what to determine thereon, he refers 
to a full council. What his associates thence attempt. Pandemonium, 
the palace of Satan, rises, suddenly built out of the Deep : the infernal 
Peers there sit in council. 


OF Man's first disobedience, and the fruit 
Of that forbidden Tree, whose mortal taste 
Brought death into the world, and all our woe, 
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man 
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat, 
Sing, Heavenly Muse, that on the secret top 
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire 
That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed 
In the beginning how the Heavens and Earth 
Rose out of Chaos : or, if Sion hill 10 

Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flowed 
Fast by the oracle of God, I thence ^., 
Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song, 
That with no middle flight intends to soar 
Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues 
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme. 
And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer 
Before all temples the upright heart and pure, 
Instruct me, for thou know'st; thou from the first 
Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread, 20 

Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast Abyss, 
And mad'st it pregnant : what in me is dark 


Illumine, what is low raise and support; 
That to the highth of this great argument 
I may assert Eternal Providence, 
And justify the ways of God to men. 

Say first (for Heaven hides nothing from thy view, 
Nor the deep tract of Hell) say first what cause 
Moved our grand parents, in that happy state, 
Favoured of Heaven so highly, to fall off 30 

From their Creator, and transgress his will 
For one restraint, lords of the world besides. 
Who first seduced them to that foul revolt? 

-The infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile, 
Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived 
The Mother of Mankind, what time his pride 
Had cast" him 1 out from Heaven, with all his host 
Of rebel Angels, by whose aid, aspiring 
To set himself in glory above his peers, 
He trusted to have equalled the Most High, 40 

If he opposed; and with ambitious aim 
Against the throne and monarchy of God 
Raised impious war in Heaven and battle proud, 
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power 
Hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal sky, 
With hideous ruin and combustion, down 

| To bottomless perdition; there to dwell 

In adamantine chains and penal fire, 

I Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms. 

Nine times the space that measures day and night 50 
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew 
Lay vanquished, rolling in the fiery gulf, 
Confounded though immortal. But his doom 
Reserved him to more wrath; for now the thought jp 
Both of lost happiness and lasting pain 


Torments him ; round he throws his baleful eyes, 

That witnessed huge affliction and dismay, 

Mixed with obdurate pride and steadfast hate. 

At once, as far as Angels ken, he views 

The dismal situation waste and wild: j 60 

I A dungeon horrible, on all sides round, / 

one great furnace flamed; yet from those flames 
Jo light, but rather darkness visible 
served only to discover sights of woe, 
\ Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace 
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes 
\That comes to all ; but torture without end 
Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed 
With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed. 
Such place Eternal Justice had prepared 70 

Eorjhose rebellious; here their prison ordained 
In utter darkness, and their portion set, 
As far removed from God and light of Heaven 
As from the centre thrice to the utmost pole. 
Oh how unlike the place from whence they fell ! 
There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelmed 
With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire, 
He soon discerns ; and, weltering by his side, f^j^ 
One next himself in power, and next in crime, V|, 
Long after known in Palestine, and named 
Beelzebub. To whom the Arch-Enemy, 
And thence in Heaven called Satan, with bold words 
Breaking the horrid silence, thus began : 
\ " If thou beest he but Oh how fallen ! how changed 
\ From him, who in the happy realms of light, 
\ Clothed with transcendent brightness, didst outshine 
! Myriads, though bright! if he whom mutual 
1 United thoughts and counsels, equal hope 


And hazard in the glorious enterprise, 

Joined with me once, now misery hath joined 90 

In equal ruin : into what pit thou seest 

From what highth fallen, so much the stronger proved 

He with his thunder: and till then who knew 

The force of those dire arms? Yet not for those, 

Nor what the potent victor in his rage 

i Can else inflict, do I repent, or change, 

Though changed in outward lustre,, that fixed mind, I 

And high disdain from sense of injured merit, \ 

That with the Mightiest raised me to contend, 
And to the fierce contention brought along 100 

Innumerable force of Spirits armed, 
That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring, 
His utmost power with adverse power opposed 
In dubious battle on the plains of Heaven, 
And shook his throne. What though the field be lost? 
AlLJs_not; Jpst : the unconquerable will, 
And study of revenge, immortal hate, 
And courage never to submit or yield: 
And what is elsejiot to be overcome? 
That glory never shall his wrath or might no 

Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace 
With suppliant knee, and deify his power 
Who, from the terror of this arm, so late 
Doubted his empire that were low indeed ; 
That were an ignominy and shame beneath 

JThis downfall ; since by fate the strength of gods 
And this empyreal substance cannot fail; | 
Since, through experience of this great event, 
In arms not worse, in foresight much advanced, 
We may with more successful hope resolve 120 

To wage by force or guile eternal war, 

BOOK I. 13 

Irreconcilable to our grand foe, 

Who now triumphs, and in the excess of joy 

Sole reigning holds the tyranny of Heaven." 

So spake the apostate Angel, thf^hjinj^ain,^ jc&jj& *.*< 
Vaunting aloud, but racked with deep despair; ' f 
And him thus answered soon his bold compeer: 

"O Prince, O Chief of many throned powers, 
That led the embattled Serapjvim to war 
Under thy conduct, and, in dreadful deeds 130 

Fearless, endangered Heaven's perpetual King, 

Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate! 

Too well I see and rue the dire event 

That with sad overthrow and foul defeat 

Hath lost us Heaven, and all this mighty host 

In horrible destruction laid thus low, 

As far as gods and Heavenly essences 

Can perish: for the mind and spirit remains 

Invincible, and vigour .soon returns, 140 

Though all our glory extinct, and happy state ___ 

Here swallowed up in endless misery. 

But what if he our conqueror (whom I now 

Of force believe almighty, since no less 


Than such could have o'erpowered such force as ou 

Have left us this our spirit and strength entire, 
i Strongly to suffer and support our pains, 
\That we may so suffice his vengeful ire; 

Or do him mightier service, as his thralls 

By right of war, whate'er his business be, 150 

Here in the heart of Hell to work in fire, 

Or do his errands in the gloomy deep? 

What can it then avail, though yet we feel 

Strength undiminished, or eternal being 


To undergo eternal punishment?" 

Whereto with speedy words the Arch-Fiend replied : 
" Fallen Cherub, to be weak is miserable, 
Doing or suffering: but of this be sure, 
To do aught good never will be our task, 
gut ever to do illjQur p"lfi delight, 160 

As being the contrary to his high will 
Whom we resist. If then his providence 
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good, 
Our labour must be to pervert that end, 
And out of good still to find means of evil ; 
WhichjpJtJ.^es may ^succeed, so as perhaps 

; Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb 
His inmost counsels from their destined aim. 
But see ! the angry victor hath recalled 
His ministers of vengeance and pursuit 170 

Back to the gates of Heaven; the sulphurous hail, 
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown hath laid 
The fiery surge that from the precipice 
Of Heaven received us falling; and the thunder, 
Winged with red lightning and impetuous rage, 
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now 
To bellow through the vast and boundless deep. 

/Let us not slip the occasion,iwhether scorn 

*Or satiate fury yield it from our foe. 
Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild, 180 

The seat of desolation, void of light, 
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames 
Casts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tend 
From off the tossing of these fiery waves; 
There rest, if any rest can harbour there; 
And, re-assembling our afflicted powers, 
Consult how we may henceforth most offend 


Our enemy, our own loss how repair 
How overcome this dire calamity, 

XVhat reinforcement we may gain from hope, 190 

\If not what resolution from despair." 

Thus Satan, talking to his nearest mate, 
With head uplift above the wave, and eyes 
That sparkling blazed; his other parts besides,*** 
Prone on the flood, extended long and large, 
Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge 
As whom the fables name of monstrous size, 
or Earth-born, that warred on 

Briaregs or Typfrori, whom the den 

By ancient T.aiSljs-feekl, or that sea-beast 200 

I^vjatban, which God of all his works 

Created hugest that swim the ocean-stream. 

Him, haply, slumbering on the Norway foam, 

The pilot of some small night-foundered skiff 

Deeming some island, oft, as seamen tell, 

With fixed anchor in his scaly rind, 

Moors by his side under the lee, while night 

Invests the sea, and wished morn delays. 

So stretched out huge in length the Arch-Fiend lay, . i 

Chained on the bu^mingjake ; nor ever thence C ?^ X 

Had^risen_or heaved fog head., but that the will 

And high permission of all-ruling Heaven 

Left him at large to his own dark designs, 
vThat with reiterated crimes he might 

Uieap on himself damnation, while he sought 

Evil to others, and enraged might see 

How all his malice served but to bring fortnS 

Infinite goodness, grace and mercy shewn / 
I On Man by him seduced, but on himself 
"Treble confusion, wrath and vengeance poured. 220 


Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool 
His mighty stature; on each hand the flames 
Driven backward slope their pointing spires, and, rolled 
In billows, leave i' the midst a horrid vale. 
Then with expanded wings he steers his flight 
Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air, 
That felt unusual weight; till on dry land 
He lights if it were land that ever burned 
With solid, as the lake with liquid fire, 
And such appeared in hue, as when the force 230 

Of subterranean wind transports a hill 
Torn from Pelorus, or the shattered side 
Of thundering ^Etna, whose combustible 
And fuelled entrails thence conceiving fire, 
Sublimed with mineral fury, aid the winds, 
And leave a singed bottom all involved 
With stench and smoke : such resting found the sole 
Of unblest feet. Him followed his next mate, 
Both glorying to have scaped the Stygian flood 
As gods, and by their own recovered^strength^ 
Not by the sufferance of supernal power. 

"Is this the region, this the soil, the clime," 
Said then the lost Archangel, "this the seat - 
That we must change for Heaven? this mournful glooi 
For that celestial light? Be it_so, since he 
Who now is sovran can dispose and bid 
What shall be right: farthest from him is best, 
Whom reason hath equalled, force hath made supremj 
Above his equals. Farewell, happy fields, 
. Where joy for ever dwells ! Hail, horrors ! hail, 25 

"&* i Infernal world ! and thou, profoundest Hell, 
I Receive thy new possessor, one who brings 
I A mind not to be changed by place or time. 



| The mind is its own place, and in itself 
VCarf mate a Heaven orHeH;~a~ITeir6f Heaven. 
What matter where, if I be still the same, 
And what I should be, all but less > than he 
Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least 
We shaft be free ; the Almighty hath not built 
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence : 
Here we may reign secure, and in my choice 
T reign is worth ambition, though in Hell : 
Better to reign in Hell, than serve 

The associates and co-partners of our loss, 
Lie thus astonished on the oblivious pool, 
And call them not to share with us their part/ 
In this unhappy mansion, or once more S^ 
With rallied arms to try what may be yet 
Regained in Heaven, or what more lost in Hell?" 

So Satan spake; and him Beelzebub 
\ Thus answered : " Leader of those~armTes bright 
Which but the Omnipotent none could have foiled, 
If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge 
Of hope in fears and dangers heard so oft ^ 
In worst, extremes^ and on the perilous edge 
Of battle when it raged, in all assaults 
Their surest signal they will soon resume 
New courage and revive, though now they lie 


As we erewhile, astounded and amazed 

No wonder, fallen such a pernicious highth ! '!*->? 

He scarce had ceased when the superior frjencL 
Was moving toward the shore; his ponderous shield, 
Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round, 
Behind him cast. The broad circumference 

P. L. 



Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb 
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views 

/ At evening from the top of Fesole, 

Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands, 290 

\ Rivers, or mountains, in her spotty globe. 
\ His spear to equal which the tallest pine 
Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast 
Of some great ammiral, were but a wand 
He walked with, to support uneasy^eps 
Over the burning marie, not like those steps 
On Heaven's azure; and the torrid clime 
Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire. 
Nathless he so endured, till on the beach 
Of that inflamed sea he stood, and called 300 

His legions, Angelforms, who lay entranced, 
Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks 
In Vallornbrosa, where the Etrurian shades 
High over-arched embower; or scattered sedge 
Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion armed 
Hath vexed the Red-Sea coast, whose waves o'erthrew 
Eusiris^and his Memphian chivalry, 
While with rjerfi^ipus hatred they pursued 
The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld 
From the safe shore their floating carcases 310 

And broken chariot-wheels : so thick bestrown, 
Abject and lost, lay these, covering the flood, 
Under amazement of their fridgons change. 
He called, so loud that all the hollow deep 
Of Hell resounded : " Princes, Potentates, 
Warriors, the flower of Heaven, once yours, now lost, 
If such VMiisfyment a this can seize 
Eternal 3p * or I < ye chosen this place 
After the to^"3f br. ^ to repose 

BOOK I. 19 

r our wearied virtue, for the ease you find \ 320 

JTo slumber here, as in the vales of Heaven? 
[Or in this abject posture have ye sworn 
To adore the conqueror, who now beholds 
Chsuib and Seraph rolling in the flood 
With scattered^afms and ensigns, till anon 
His swift pursuers from Heaven-gates discern 
The advantage, and descending tread us down 
Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts 
Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf? 
Awake, arise, or be for ever fallen!" 330 

They heard, and were abashed, and up they sprung 
Upon the wing, as when men wont to watch 
On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread, 
Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake. 
Nor did they not perceive the evil plight 
In which they were, or the fiejcje^pains not feel ; 

*Yet to their General's voice they soon obeyed 
Innumerable. As when the potent rod 
Of ArnnmVs^son, in Egypt's evil day, 
Waved round the coast, up called a pitchy cloud 340 
Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind, 

j That o'er the rejdm_jLmip^^ 

I Like night, and darkened all the land of Nile : 
So numberless were jhose_bad Angels_seen 
Hovering on wing under the cope of Hell, 
'Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires; 
Till, as a signal given, the uplifted spear 
Of their great Sultan waving to direct: 
Their course, in even balance down they light 
On the firm brimstone, and fill all the plain j; 350 

A multitude, like which the po n ms No; i-il ' r 
Poured never from her frozen loiriM^to pas'J 

2 2 


Rhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous sons 

Came like a deluge on the South, and spread 

Beneath Gibraltar to the Libyan sands. 

Forthwith, from every squadron and each band, 

The heads and leaders thither haste where stood 

Their great ^Qprttmander ; godlike shapes, andjbnns 

Excelling human, princely dignities, 

And powers that erst in Heaven sat on thrones; ->.6o 

Though of their names in Heavenly records now 

Be no memorial, blotted out and rased 

/By their rebellion from the Books of Life. 
/ j 

%$> ^.j-j Nor had they yet among the sons of Eve 

I Got them new names, till, wandering o'er the Earth, 
Through God's high sufferance for the trial of Man, 
By falsities and lies the greatest part 
Of Mankind they corrupted to forsake 
God their Creator, and the invisible 
Glory of him that made them to transform 370 

Oft to the image of a brute, adorned 
With gay religions full of pomp and gold, 
And devils to adore for deities. 

(Then were they known to men by various names, 
And various idols through the heathen world. \\ 
Say, Muse, their names then known, who first, who last, 
Roused from the slumber on that fiery couch, 
At their great Emperor's call, as next in worth 
Came singly where he stood on the bare strand, 
While the promiscuous crowd stood yet aloof. 380 

The chief were those who, from the pit of Hell 
Roaming to seek their prey on Earth, durst fix 
Their seats long after next the seat of God, 
Their altars by his altar, gods adored 
Among the nations round, and durst abide 

BOOK I. 21 

Jehovah thundering ouj of^Sion, throned 

Between trie hiubiinj yea, often placed 

Within his sanctuary itself their shrines, 

Abominations ; and with cursed things 

His holy rites and solemn feasts profaned, 390 

And with their darkness durst affront his light. 

First, Moloch, horrid king, besmeared with blood 

Of human sacrifice, and parents' tears, 

Though, for the noise of drums and timbrels loud, 

Their children's cries unheard, that passed through fire 

To his grim idol. Hioi__tli_ Ammonite 

Worshiped in Rabba and her watery plain, 

In Argob and in Basan, to the stream 

Of ^tmosj^Acnon. Nor content with such 

Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart 400 

Of Solomon he led by fraud to build 

His temple right against the temple of God 

On that opprobrious hill, and made his grove 

The pleasant valley of Hinnom, Tophet thence 

And black Gehenna called, the type of Hell. 

NejcM^hejiiQs, the obscene dread of Moab's sons, 

From Aroer to Nebo, and the wild 

Of southmost Abarim ; in Hesebon 

And Horonaim, Seon's realm, beyond 

The flowery dale of Sibma clad with vines, 410 

And Eleale to the Asphaltic pool. 

Peor his other name, when he enticed 

Israel in Sittim, on their march from Nile, 

To do him wanton rites, which cost them woe. 

Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlarged 

Even to that hill of scandal, by the grove 

Of Moloch homicide, lust hard by hate; 

Till good Josiah drove them thence to Hell. 


With these came they who, from the bordering flood 
Of old Euphrates to the brook that parts 420 

Egypt from Syrian ground, had general names 
f Of Baalim and Ashtaroth those male, 
J I These feminine. For Spirits, when they please, 
X Can either sex assume, or both; so soft 
And uncompounded is their essence pure, 
Not tied or manacled with joint or limb, 
Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones, 
Like cumbrous flesh ; but, in what shape they choose, 
Dilated or condensed, bright or obscure, 
Can execute their aery purposes, 43 

And works of love or enmity fulfil. 
For those the race of Israel oft forsook 
Their living Strength, and unfrequented left 
His righteous altar, bowing lowly down 
/ To bestial gods; for which their heads as low 

Bowed down in battle, sunk before the spear 
\ Of despicable foes. With these in troop 
Vcame Astoreth, whom the Phoenicians called 
Astarte, Queen of Heaven, with crescent horns ; 
To whose bright image nightly by the moon 44 

Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs; 
In Sion also not unsung, where stood 
Her 'temple on the offensive mountain, built 
By that uxorious king whose heart, though large, 
Beguiled by fair idolatresses, fell 
To idols foul. Thammuz came next behind, 
Whose annual wound in Lebanon allured 
The Syrian damsels to lament his fate 
In amorous ditties all a summer's day, 
While smooth Adonis from his native rock 45 

Ran purple to the sea, supposed with blood 

BOOK I. 23 

Of Thammuz yearly wounded : the love-tale 
Infected Sion's daughters with like heat, 
Whose wanton passions in the sacred porch 

^Ezekiel saw, when, by the vision led, 

/ His eye surveyed the dark idolatries 

j Of alienated Judah. Next came one 

\.,Who mourned in earnest, when the captive ark 
Maimed his brute image, head and hands lopt off 
In his own temple, on the grunsel-edge, 460 

Where he fell flat, and shamed his worshipers : 
Dagon his name, sea-monster, upward man 
And downward fish; yet had his temple high 
Reared in Azotus, dreaded through the coast 
Of Palestine, in Oath and Ascalon, 
And Accaron and Gaza's frontier bounds. 
Him followed Rimmon, whose delightful seat 
Was fair Damascus, on the fertile banks 
Of Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams. 
He also against the house of God was. bold: 470 

A leper once he lost and gained a king, 
Ahaz, his sottish conqueror, whom he drew 
God's altar to disparage and displace 
For one of Syrian mode, whereon to burn 
His odious offerings, and adore the gods 
Whom he had vanquished. After these appeared 
A crew who, under names of old renown, 
Osiris, Isis, Orus, and their train, 
With monstrous shapes and sorceries abused 
Fanatic Egypt and her priests, to seek 480 

Their wandering gods disguised in brutish forms 
Rather than human. Nor did Israel scape 
The infection, when their borrowed gold composed 
The calf in Oreb ; and the rebel king 


Doubled that sin in Bethel and in Dan, 
Likening his Maker to the grazed ox 
Jehovah, who, in one night, when he passed 
From Egypt marching, equalled with one stroke 
Both her first-born and all her bleating gods. 
Belial came last, than whom a Spirit more lewd 490 

Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love 
Vice for itself. To him no temple stood 
Or altar smoked; yet who more oft than he 
In temples and at altars, when the priest 
Turns atheist, as did Eli's sons, who filled 
With lust and violence the house of God? 
In courts and palaces he also reigns, 
And in luxurious cities, where the noise 
Of riot ascends above their loftiest towers, 
And injury and outrage; and when night 500 

Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons 
Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine. 
Witness the streets of Sodom, and that night 
In Gibeah, when the hospitable door 
Exposed a matron, to avoid worse rape. 
^ These were the prime in order and in might ; 
/*The rest were long to tell, though far renowned, 
The Ionian gods of Javan's issue held 
Gods, yet confessed later than Heaven and Earth, 
Their boasted parents : Titan, Heaven's first-born, 510 
With his enormous brood, and birthright seized 
By younger Saturn; he from mightier Jove, 
His own and Rhea's son, like measure found ; 
So Jove usurping reigned. These, first in Crete 
And Ida known, thence on the snowy top 
Of cold Olympus ruled the middle air, 
Their highest Heaven ; or on the Delphian cliff, 

BOOK I. 25 

Or in Dodona, and through all the bounds 

Of Doric land ; or who with Saturn old 

Fled over Adria to the Hesperian fields, 520 

And o'er the Celtic roamed the utmost isles. 

All these and more came flocking; but with looks 
Downcast and damp, yet such wherein appeared 
Obscure some glimpse of joy, to have found their Chief 
Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost 
In loss itself; which on his countenance cast 
Like doubtful hue. But he, his wonted pride 
Scxm recollecting, with jhigri words, that bora 

not substancef gently raised 

Their fainting courage, and dispelled their fears : 530 

Then straight commands that, at the warlike sound 

Of trumpets loud and clarions, be upreared 

His mighty standard. That proud honour claimed 

Azazel as his right, a Cherub tall: 

Who forthwith from the glittering staff unfurled 

The imperial ensign, which, full high advanced, 

Shone like a meteor streaming to the wind, 

With gems and golden lustre rich emblazed, 

Seraphic arms and trophies ; all the while 

Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds : 540 

At which the universal host up-sent 

A shout that tore Hell's concave, and beyond 

Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night. 

All in a moment through the gloom were seen 

Ten thousand banners rise into the air, 

With orient colours waving; with them rose 

A forest huge of spears ; and thronging helms 

Appeared, and serried shields in thick array 

Of depth immeasurable. Anon they move 

In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood 550 


Of flutes and soft recorders ; such as raised 
To highth of noblest temper heroes old 
Arming to battle, and instead of rage 
Deliberate valour breathed, firm and unmoved 
With dread of death to flight or foul retreat; 
Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage, 
With solemn touches, troubled thoughts, and chase 
Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain 
From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they, 
.Breathing united force with fixed thought, 560 

j fi Moved on in silence to soft pipes that charmed 
\Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil; >and now 
Advanced in view they stand, a horrid front 
Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise 
Of warriors old, with ordered spear and shield, 
Awaiting what command their mighty Chief 
Had to impose. He through the armed files 
Darts his experienced eye, and soon traverse 
The whole battalion views their order due, 
Their visages and stature as of gods; 570 

Their number last he sums. And now his heart 
Distends with pride, and hardening in his strength 
Glories; for never, since created Man, 
Met such embodied force as, named with these, 
Could merit more than that small infantry 
Warred on by cranes : though all the giant brood 
Of Phlegra with the heroic race were joined 
That fought at Thebes and Ilium, on each side 
Mixed with auxiliar gods; and what resounds 
In fable or romance of Uther's son, 580 

Begirt with British and Armoric knights; 
And all who since, baptized or infidel, 
Jousted in Aspramont, or Montalban, 

BOOK I. 27 

Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond ; 

Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore 

When Charlemain with all his peerage fell 

By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond 

Compare of mortal prowess, yet observed 

Their dread Commander. He, above the rest 

In shape and gesture proudly eminent, 590 

Stood like a tower; I his form had yet not lost 

All her original brightness, prior appeared 

Less than Archangel ruined, and the excess 

Of glory obscured : as when the sun new-risen 

Looks through the horizontal misty air 

Shorn of his beams, or from behind the moon, 

In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds 

On half the nations, and with fear of change 

Perplexes monarchs. Darkened so, yet shone 

Above them all the Archangel; but his face 600 

Deep scars of thunder had intrenched, and care 

Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows 

Of dauntless courage, .and considerate pride 

Waiting revenge. Cruel his eye, but cast 

Signs of remorse and passion, to behold 

The fellows of his crime, the followers rather 

(Far other once beheld in bliss), condemned 

For ever now to have their lot in pain ; III 

Millions of Spirits for his fault amerced l^T.. . AJ**** :"* 

Of Heaven, and from eternal splendours flung 610 

For his revolt; vet faithful how r tfrev stood. 

Their glory withered : as, when Heaven's fire 

Hath scathed the forest oaks or mountain pines, 

With singed top their stately growth, though bare, 

Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepared 

To speak ; whereat their doubled ranks they bend 


From wing to wing, and half enclose him round 
With all his peers : attention held them mute. 
Thrice he assayed, and thrice, in spite of scorn, 
Tears, such as Angels weep, burst forth : at last 620 

Words interwove with sighs found out their way : 

" O myriads of immortal Spirits ! O Powers 
Matchless, but with the Almighty ! and that strife 
Was not inglorious, though the event was dire, 
As this place testifies, and this dire change, 
Hateful to utter. I But what power of mind, 
Foreseeing or presaging, from the depth 
Of knowledge past or present, could have feared 
How such united force of gods, how such i 
As stood like these, could ever know repulse? I 630 

For who can yet believe, though after loss, 
That all these puissant legions, whose exile 
Hath emptied Heaven, shall fail to re-ascend, 
Self-raised, and re-possess their native seat? 
For me, be witness all the host of Heaven, 
If counsels different, or danger shunned 
By me, have lost our hopes. But he who reigns 
Monarch in Heaven, till then as one secure 
Sat on his throne, upheld by old repute, 
Consent or custom, and his regal state ^ 640 

Put forth at full,V^ut still his strength concealed,/ 
Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall. 
Henceforth his might we know, and know our own, 
So as not either to provoke, or dread 
New war, provoked;; our better part remains 
To work in close design, by fraud or guile, 
What force effected not; that he no less 
At length from us may find, who overcomes 
By force hath overcome but half his foe. 


BOOK I. 29 

Space may produce new worlds; whereof so rife 650 

There went a fame in Heaven that he ere long 

Intended to create, and therein plant 

A generation whom his choice regard 

Should favour equal to the Sons of Heaven. 

Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps 

Our first eruption, thither or elsewhere; 

For this infernal pit shall never hold 

Celestial Spirits in bondage, nor the Abyss 

Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts 

Full counsel must mature. Peace is despaired, 660 

For who can think submission? War, then, war 

Open or understood, must be resolved." 

He spake ; and, to confirm his words, out-flew 
Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs 
Of mighty Cherubim ; the sudden blaze 
Far round illumined Hell. Highly they raged 
Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arms 
Clashed on their sounding shields the din of war, 
Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heaven. 

There stood a hill not far, whose grisly top 670 

Belched fire and rolling smoke; the rest entire 
Shone with a glossy scurf, undoubted sign 
That in his womb was hid metallic ore, 
The work of sulphur. Thither, winged with speed, 
A numerous brigad hastened : as when bands 
Of pioners, with spade and pickaxe armed, 
Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field, 
Or cast a rampart. Mammon led them on, UJ^ 
Mammon, the least erected SpTriFTEaTTell 679 

From Heaven, for even in Heaven his looks and thoughts 
Were always downward bent, admiring more 
The riches of Heaven's pavement, trodden gold, 


Than aught divine or holy else enjoyed 

In vision beatific. By him first 

Men also, and by his suggestion taught, 

Ransacked the centre, and with impious hands 

Rifled the bowels of their mother Earth 

For treasures better hid. Soon had his crew 

Opened into the hill a spacious wound, 

And digged out ribs of gold. Let none admire 690 

That riches grow in Hell; that soil may best 

Deserve the precious bane. And here let those 

Who boast in mortal things, and wondering tell 

Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings, 

Learn how their greatest monuments of fame, 

And strength, and art, are easily outdone 

By Spirits reprobate, and in an hour 

What in an age they, with incessant toil 

And hands innumerable, scarce perform. 

Nigh on the plain, in many cells prepared, 700 

That underneath had veins of liquid fire 

Sluiced from the lake, a second multitude 

With wondrous art founded the massy ore, 

Severing each kind, and scummed the bullion-dross. 

A third as soon had formed within the ground 

A various mould, and from the boiling cells 

By strange conveyance filled each hollow nook : 

As in an organ, from one blast of wind, 

To many a row of pipes the sound-board breathes. 

Anon out of the earth a fabric huge 710 

Rose like an exhalation, with the sound 

Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet, 

Built like a temple, where pilasters round 

Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid 

With golden architrave; nor did there want 

BOOK I. 31 

Cornice or frieze, with bossy sculptures graven ; 

The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon, 

Nor great Alcairo, such magnificence 

Equalled in all their glories, to enshrine 

Belus or Serapis their gods, or seat 720 

Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove 

In wealth and luxury. The ascending pile 

Stood fixed her stately highth, and straight the doors, 

Opening their brazen folds, discover, wide 

Within, her ample spaces o'er the smooth 

And level pavement: from the arched roof, 

Pendent by subtle magic, many a row 

Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed 

With naphtha and asphaltus, yielded light 

As from a sky. The hasty multitude 730 

Admiring entered, and the work some praise, 

And some the architect: his hand was known 

In Heaven by many a towered structure high, 

Where sceptred Angels held their residence, 

And sat as princes, whom the supreme King 

Exalted to such power, and gave to rule, 

Each in his Hierarchy, the Orders bright. 

Nor was his name unheard or unadored 

In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land 

Men called him Mulciber; and how he fell 740 

From Heaven they fabled, thrown by angry Jove 

Sheer o'er the crystal battlements : from morn 

To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve, 

A summer's day; and with the setting sun 

Dropt from the zenith, like a falling star, 

On Lemnos, the yEgaean isle. Thus they relate, 

Erring; for he with this rebellious rout 

Fell long before; nor aught availed him now 


To have built in Heaven high towers; nor did he scape 
/ By all his engines, but was headlong sent 750 

\ With his industrious crew to build in Hell. 
^ Meanwhile the winged haralds, by command 
Of sovran power, with awful ceremony 
And trumpet's sound, throughout the host proclaim 
A solemn council forthwith to be held 
At Pandemonium, the high capital 
Of Satan and his peers. Their summons called 
From every band and squared regiment 
By place or choice the worthiest; they anon 
With hundreds and with thousands trooping came 760 
Attended. All access was thronged, the gates 
And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall 
(Though like a covered field, where champions bold 
Wont ride in armed, and at the Soldan's chair 

r Defied the best of Panim chivalry 
To mortal combat, or career with lance) 
Thick swarmed, both on the ground and in the air,^;* j 
Brushed with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees\ 
In spring-time, when the Sun with Taurus rides, 
Pour forth their populous youth about the hive 770 

In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers 
Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank, 
The suburb of their straw-built citadel, 
New rubbed with balm, expatiate and confer 
. Their state-affairs. So thick the aery crowd 

^ Swarmed and were straitened; till, the signal given, 

Behold a wonder ! they but now who seemed 
In bigness to surpass Earth's giant sons, 
Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room 
Throng numberless, like that pygmean race 780 

Beyond the Indian mount; or Jae.ryjslves, 

BOOK I. 33 

Whose midnight revels, by a forest-side 

Or fountain, some belated peasant sees, 

Or dreams he sees, while overhead the moon 

Sits arbitress, and nearer to the Earth 

Wheels her pale course; they, on their mirth and dance 

Intent, with jocund music charm his ear; 

At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds. 

Thus incorporeal Spirits to smallest forms 

Reduced their shapes immense, and were at large, 790 

Though without number still, amidst the hall 

Of that infernal court. But far within, 

And in their own dimensions like themselves, 

The great Seraphic Lords and Cherubim 

In close recess and secret conclave sat, 

A thousand demi-gods on golden seats, 

Frequent and full. After short silence then, 

And summons read, the great consult began. 

P. L. 




The consultation begun, Satan debates whether another battle be to 
be hazarded for the recovery of Heaven : some advise it, others dissuade. 
A third proposal is preferred, mentioned before by Satan, to search the 
truth of that prophecy ortradition in Heaven concerning another-Meorld. 
and another kind of creature, equaUor^not much inferior, to them- 
je^s7ab^uT~thtsTrme to be created. Their doubt who shall be sent 
on this difficult search : Satan, their chief, undertakes alone the voyage; 
is honoured and applauded. The council thus ended, the rest betake 
them several ways and to several employments, as their inclinations 
lead them, to entertain the time till Satan return. He passes on his 
journey to Hell-gates, finds them shut, and who sat there to guard 
them ; by whom at length they are opened, and discover to him the 
great gulf between Hell and Heaven ; with what difficulty he passes 
through, directed by Chaos, the Power of that place, to the sight 
of this new world which he sought. 


HIGH on a throne of royal state, which far 
Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind, 
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand 
Showers on her kings barbaric pearland gold, 

* Satan exalted sat, by merit raised -Jf* > +&V 

\To that bad eminence; and, from despair 
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires 
Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue 
Vain jwa with fTeave.n ; and, by success untaught, 
His proud imaginations thus displayed : I0 

" Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heaven ! 
For since no deep within her gulf can hold 
Immortal vigour, though oppressed and fallen, 
I give not Heaven for lost: from this descent 
Celestial Virtues rising will appear 
More glorious and more dread than from no fall, 
And trust themselves to fear no second fate. 
Me though just right, and the fixed laws of Heaven, 
Did first create your leader, next, free choice, 
With what besides, in counsel or in fight, 20 

Hath been achieved of merit, yet this loss, 
Thus far at least recovered, hath much more 


Established in a safe unenvied throne, 

Yielded with full consent. The happier state 

In Heaven, which follows dignity, might draw 

Envy from each inferior; but who here 

Will envy whom the highest place exposes 

Foremost to stand against the Thunderer's aim 

Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share 

Of endless pain? Where there is then no good 

For which to strive, no strife can grow up there 

From faction; for none sure will claim in Hell 

Precedence, none whose portion is so small 

Of present pain that with ambitious mind 

Will covet more. With this advantage then 

To union, and firm faith, and firm accord, 

More than can be in Heaven, we now return 

To claim our just inheritance of old, 

Surer to prosper than prosperity 

Could have assured us; and by what best way, 40 

Whether of open war or covert guile, 

We now debate; who can advise may speak." 

He ceased ; and next him Moloch^ sceptred king, 
Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest Spirit 
That fought in Heaven, now fiercer by despair. 
His trust was with the Eternal to be deemed 
Equal in strength, and rather than be less 
Cared not to be at all ; with that care lost 
Went all his fear : of God, or Hell, or worse, 
He recked not, and these words thereafter spake : 50 

" My sentence is for open war : of wiles, 
More unexpert, I boast not: them let those 
Contrive who need, or when they need, not now. 
For while they sit contriving, shall the rest, 
Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait 

BOOK II. 3vj 

The signal to ascend, sit lingering here 
Heaven's fugitives, and for their dwelling-place 
Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame, 
The prison of his tyranny who reigns 
By our delay ? No ! let us rather choose, 60 

Armed with Hell-flames and fury, all at once 
O'er Heaven's high towers to force resistless way, 
Turning our tortures into horrid arms 
Against the Torturer; when to meet the noise 
Of his almighty engine he shall hear 
Infernal thunder, and for lightning see 
Black fire and horror shot with equal rage 
Among his Angels, and his throne itself 
Mixed with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire, 
His own invented torments. But perhaps 70 

The way seems difficult and steep to scale 
With upright wing against a higher foe. 
Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench 
Of that forgetful lake benumb not still, 
That in our proper motion we ascend 
Up to our native seat; descent and fall 
To us is adverse. Who but felt of late, 
When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear 
Insulting, and pursued us through the deep, 
With what compulsion and laborious flight 80 

We sunk thus low ? The ascent is easy then ; 
The event is feared : should we again provoke 
Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find 
To our destruction if there be in Hell 
Fear to be worse destroyed ! What can be worse 
Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, condemned 
In this abhorred deep to utter woe; 
Where pain of unextinguishable fire 


Must exercise us without hope of end, 

The vassals of his anger, when the scourge 90 

Inexorably, and the torturing hour, 

Calls us to penance? More destroyed .than thus, 

We should be quite abolished, and expire. 

What fear we then? what doubt we to incense 

His utmost ire? which, to the highth enraged, 

Will either quite consume us, and reduce 

To nothing this essential happier far 

Than miserable to have eternal being ! 

Or if our substance be indeed divine, 

And cannot cease to be, we are at worst 100 

On this side nothing; and by proof we feel 

;Our power sufficient to disturb his Heaven, 

And with perpetual inroads to alarm, 

Though inaccessible, his fatal throne: 

Which, if not victory, is yet revenge." 

He ended frowning, and his look denounced 
Desperate revenge, and battle dangerous 
To less than gods. On the other side up rose 
Belial, in act more graceful and humane ; 
A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seemed no 

For dignity composed, and high exploit. 
But all was false and hollow; though his tongue 
Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear 
The better reason, to perplex and dash 
Maturest counsels : for his thoughts were low ; 
To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds 
Timorous and slothful : yet he pleased the ear, 
And with persuasive accent thus began : 

" I should be much for open war, O Peers, 
As not behind in hate, if what was urged 120 

Main reason to persuade immediate war 

BOOK II. 41 

Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast 
Ominous conjecture on the whole success; 
When he who most excels in fact of arms, 
In what he counsels and in what excels 
Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair 
And utter dissolution, as the scope 
Of all his aim, after some dire revenge. 
First, what revenge? The towers of Heaven are filled 
With armed watch, that render all access 130 

Impregnable; oft on the bordering deep 
Encamp their legions, or with obscure wing 
Scout far and wide into the realm of Night, 
Scorning surprise. Or could we break our way 
By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise 
With blackest insurrection, to confound 
Heaven's purest light, yet our great enemy 
All incorruptible would on his throne 
Sit unpolluted, and the ethereal mould 
Incapable of stain would soon expel 140 

Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire, 
Victorious. Thus repulsed, our final hope 
? Is flat despair: we must exasperate 
i f The almighty victor to spend all his rage, 
U And that must end us, that must be our cure 
< To be no more. Sad cure ! for who would lose, 
Though full of pain, this intellectual being, 
Those thoughts that wander through eternity, 
To perish rather, swallowed up and lost 
In the wide womb of uncreated Night, 150 

Devoid of sense and motion? And who knows, 
Let this be good, whether our angry foe 
Can give it, or will ever? How he can 
Is doubtful; that he never will is sure. 


Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire, 
Belike through impotence, or unaware, 
To give his enemies their wish, and end 
Them in his anger, whom his anger saves 
To punish endless ? ' Wherefore cease we, then ? ' 
Say they who counsel war; 'we are decreed, 160 

Reserved, and destined to eternal woe; 
Whatever doing, what can we suffer more, 
CjVVhat can we suffer worse ? (C Is this then worst, 
Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms? 
What when we fled amain, pursued and strook 
With Heaven's afflicting thunder, and besought 
The deep to shelter us? this Hell then seemed 
A refuge from those wounds. Or when we lay 
Chained on the burning lake? that sure was 
What if the breath that kindled those grim fires, 170 

Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage, 
And plunge us in the flames? or from above 
Should intermitted vengeance arm again 
His red right hand to plague us? What if all 
Her stores were opened, and this firmament 
Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire, 
Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall 
One day upon our heads ; while we perhaps, 
Designing or exhorting glorious war, 

Caught in a fiery tempest shall be hurled, 180 

Each on his rock transfixed, the sport and prey 
Of racking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk 
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains; 
There to converse with everlasting groans, 
Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved, 
Ages of hopeless end ! This would be worse. 
War therefore, open or concealed, alike 

BOOK II. '47 

My voice dissuades; for what can force or guile 

With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye 

Views all things at one view? He from Heaven's highth 

All these our motions vain sees and derides, 191 

Not more almighty to resist our might 

Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles. 

Shall we then live thus vile, the race of Heaven 

Thus trampled, thus expelled to suffer here 

Chains and these torments? Better these than worse, 

By my advice; since fate inevitable 

Subdues us, and omnipotent decree, 

The victor's will. To suffer, as to do, 

Our strength is equal, nor the law unjust 200 

That so ordains : this was at first resolved, 

If we were wise, against so great a foe 

Contending, and so doubtful what might fall. 

I laugh, when those who at the spear are bold 

And vent'rous, if that fail them, shrink, and fear 

What yet they know must follow to endure 

Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain, 

The sentence of their conqueror. This is now 

Our doom ; which if we can sustain and bear, 

Our supreme foe in time may much remit 210 

His anger, and perhaps, thus far removed, 

Not mind us not offending, satisfied 

With what is punished ; whence these raging fires 

Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames. 

Our purer essence then will overcome 

Their noxious vapour, or inured not feel, 

Or changed at length, and to the place conformed 

In temper and in nature, will receive 

Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain ; 

This horror will grow mild, this darkness light; 220 


* Besides what hope the never-ending flight 
Of future days may bring, what chance, what change 
Worth waiting, since our present lot appears 
For happy though but ill, for ill not worst, 
If we procure not to ourselves more woe." 

Thus Belial, with words clothed in reason's garb, 
Counselled ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth, 
Not peace ; and after him thus Mammon spake : 

"Either to disenthrone the King of Heaven 
We war, if war be best, or to regain 230 

Our own right lost : him to unthrone we then 
May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield 
To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife. 
The former, vain to hope, argues as vain 
The latter; for what place can be for us 
Within Heaven's bound, unless Heaven's Lord supreme 
We overpower? Suppose he should relent 
And publish grace to all, on promise made 
Of new subjection; with what eyes could we 
Stand in his presence humble, and receive 240 

Strict laws imposed, to celebrate his throne 
With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing 
Forced Halleluiahs; while he lordly sits 
Our envied sovran, and his altar breathes 

1 Ambrosial oduuTs~and ambrosial flowers, 
Our servile offerings? This must be our task 
In Heaven, this our delight; how wearisome 
Eternity so spent in worship paid 
To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue, 
By force impossible, by leave obtained 250 

Unacceptable, though in Heaven, our state 
J3f splendid vassalage ; but rather seek 
Our own good from ourselves, and from our own 


Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess, 
Free, and to none accountable, preferring 

TTarrl lihprfy hpforp ftp, pasy ynlcp.. 

Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear 
Then most conspicuous, when great things of small, 
\Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse, 
]We can create, and in what place soe'er 
Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain 
^Through labour and endurance. This deep world 
Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst 
Thick clouds and dark doth Heaven's all-ruling Sire 
Choose to reside, his glory unobscured, 
And with the majesty of darkness round 
Covers his throne, from whence deep thunders roar, 
Mustering their rage, and Heaven resembles Hell ! 
As he our darkness, cannot we his light 
Imitate when we please? This desert soil 
Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold ; 
Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise 
Magnificence; and what can Heaven show more? 
Our torments also may in length of time 
Become our elements, these piercing fires 
As soft as now severe, our temper changed 
Into their temper; which must needs remove 
The sensible of pain. All things invite 
To peaceful counsels, and the settled state 
Of order, how in safety best we may 
[Compose our present evils, with regard 
)f what we are and where, dismissing quite 
11 thoughts of war. Ye have what I advise." 
He scarce had finished, when such murmur filled 
le assembly, as when hollow rocks retain 
The sound of blustering winds, which all night long 






Had roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull 

Seafaring men o'erwatched, whose bark by chance, 

Or pinnace, anchors in a craggy bay 

After the tempest : such applause was heard 290 

As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleased, 

Advising__peace ; for such another field 

TKey~dreaded worse than Hell ; so much the fear 

Of thunder and the sword of Michael 

Wrought still within triem ; and no less desire 

ToTound this Aether empire, which might rise, 

By policy, and long process of time, 

In emulation opposite to Heaven. 

Which when Beelzebub perceived, than whom, 

Satan except, none higher sat, with grave 300 

Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed 

A pillar of state ; deep on his front engraven 

Deliberation sat and public care; 

And princely counsel in his face yet shone, 

Majestic though in ruin. Sage he stood, 

With Atlantean shoulders fit to bear 

The weight of mightiest monarchies ; his look 

Drew audience and attention still as night 

Or summer's noontide air, while thus he spake: 

"Thrones and imperial Powers, Offspring of Heaven, 
Ethereal Virtues! or these titles now 311 

Must we renounce, and, changing style, be called 
Princes of Hell? for so the popular vote 
Inclines, here to continue, and build up here 
A growing empire doubtless ! while we dream, 
And know not that the King of Heaven hath doomed 
This place our dungeon, not our safe retreat 
Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt 
From Heaven's high jurisdiction, in new league 

BOOK II. 47 

Banded against his throne, but to remain 320 

In strictest bondage, though thus far removed, 
Under the inevitable curb, reserved 
His captive multitude. For he, be sure, 

I In highth or depth, still first and last will reign 
Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part 
By our revolt, but over Hell extend 
His empire, and with iron sceptre rule 
Us here, as with his golden those in Heaven. 
What sit we then projecting peace and war? 
War hath determined us, and foiled with loss 330 

Irreparable ; terms of peace yet none 
Vouchsafed or sought; for what peace will be given 
To us enslaved, but custody severe, 
And stripes, and arbitrary punishment 
Inflicted? and what peace can we return, 
But, to our power, hostility and hate, 
Untamed reluctance, and revenge, though slow, 
Yet ever plotting how the conqueror least 
May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice 
In doing what we most in suffering feel ? 340 

Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need 
With dangerous expedition to invade 
Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault or siege, 
Or ambush from the deep. What if we find 
Some easier enterprise? There is a place 
(If ancient and prophetic fame in Heaven 
Err not), another world, the happy seat 
Of some new race called Man, about this time 
To be created like to us, though less 
'In power and excellence, but favoured more 350 

Of him who rules above; so was his will 
Pronounced among the gods, and by an oath, 


, That shook Heaven's whole circumference, confirmed. 

Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn 
j What creatures there inhabit, of what mould, 
j Or substance, how endued, and what their power, 
1 And where their weakness, how attempted best, 

By force or subtlety. Though Heaven be shut, 

And Heaven's high Arbitrator sit secure 

In his own strength, this place may lie exposed, 360 

The utmost border of his kingdom, left 

To their defence who hold it; here, perhaps, 

Some advantageous act may be achieved 

By sudden onset : either with Hell-fire 

To waste his whole creation, or possess 
? All as our own, and drive, as we are driven, 

{The puny habitants ; or if not drive, 
Seduce them to our party, that their God 
May prove their foe, and with repenting hand 
Abolish his own works. This would surpass 370 

Common revenge, and interrupt his joy 
In our confusion, and our joy upraise 
In his disturbance; when his darling sons, 
Hurled headlong to partake with us, shall curse 
Their frail original, and faded bliss, 

, Faded so soon ! Advise if this be worth 

: Attempting, or to sit in darkness here 

i, Hatching vain empires." Thus Beelzebub 
Pleaded his devilish counsel, first devised 
By Satan, and in part proposed; for whence, 380 

But from the author of all ill, could spring 
So deep a malice, to confound the race 
Of Mankind in one root, and Earth with Hell 
To mingle and involve, done all to spite 
The great Creator? But their spite still serves 

BOOK II. 49 

His glory to augment. The bold design 
Pleased highly those infernal States, and joy 
Sparkled in all their eyes; with full assent 
They vote : whereat his speech he thus renews : 

"Well have ye judged, well ended long debate, 390 
Synod of gods, and, like to what ye are, 
Great things resolved; which from the lowest deep 
Will once more lift us up, in spite of fate, 
Nearer our ancient seat; perhaps in view 
Of those bright confines, whence, with neighbouring arms 
And opportune excursion, we may chance 
Re-enter Heaven; or else in some mild zone 
Dwell not unvisited of Heaven's fair light, 
Secure, and at the brightening orient beam 
Purge off this gloom ; the soft delicious air, 400 

To heal the scar of these corrosive fires, 
Shall breathe her balm. But first, whom shall we send 
In search of this new world? whom shall we find 
Sufficient? who shall tempt with wandering feet 
The dark, unbottomed, infinite Abyss, 
And through the palpable obscure find out 
His uncouth way, or spread his aery flight, 
Upborne with indefatigable wings 
Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive 

The happy isle? What strength, what art, can then 410 
Suffice, or what evasion bear him safe 
Through the strict senteries and stations thick 
Of Angels watching round? Here he had need 
All circumspection, and we now no less 
Choice in our suffrage; for on whom we send 
The weight of all, and our last hope, relies." 

This said, he sat ; and expectation held 
His look suspense, awaiting who appeared 

p. L. 4 


To second, or oppose, or undertake 

t The perilous attempt ; but all sat mute, 420 

j Pondering the danger with deep thoughts; and each 

I In other's countenance read his own dismay, 
Astonished. None among the choice and prime 
Of those Heaven-warring champions could be found 
So hardy as to proffer or accept, 
Alone, the dreadful voyage; till at last 
Satan, whom now transcendent glory raised 
Above his fellows, with monarchal pride 
Conscious of highest worth, unmoved thus spake: 

" O Progeny of Heaven, empyreal Thrones ! 430 

With reason hath deep silence and demur 
Seized us, though undismayed. Long is the way 
And hard, that out of Hell leads up to light; 

j Our prison strong, this huge convex of fire, 

j Outrageous to devour, immures us round 

1 Ninefold, and gates of burning adamant, 

1 Barred over us, prohibit all egress. 
These passed, if any pass, the void profound 
rO Of unessential Night receives him next, 

Wide-gaping, and with utter loss of being 440 

Threatens him, plunged in that abortive gulf. 

If thence he scape into whatever world, 

Or unknown region, what remains him less 

Than unknown dangers and as hard escape? 

But I should ill become this throne, O Peers, 

And this imperial sovranty, adorned 

With splendour, armed with power, if aught proposed 

And judged of public moment, in the shape 

Of difficulty or danger, could deter 

Me from attempting. Wherefore do I assume 450 

These royalties, and not refuse to reign, 

BOOK II. 51 

Refusing to accept as great a share 
Of hazard as of honour, due alike 
To him who reigns, and so much to him due 
Of hazard more, as he above the rest 
High honoured sits? Go therefore, mighty Powers, 
Terror of Heaven, though fallen ; intend at home, 
While here shall be our home, what best may ease 
The present misery, andjender Hell 
More tolerable ; if there be cure or charm 460 

^To respite, or deceive, or slack the pain 
(Of this ill mansion; intermit no watch 
\Against a wakeful foe, while I abroad 
Through all the coasts of dark destruction seek 
Deliverance for us all : this enterprise 
None shall partake with me." Thus saying, rose 
The Monarch, and prevented all reply ; 
pmHpntj lest, from his resolution raised, 
Others among the chief might offer now 
(Certain to be refused) what erst they feared, 470 

And, so refused, might .in opinion stand 
His rivals, winning cheap^ the high_ipute 
iVhich he through^ hazard huge must earn. But they 
Dreaded not inore the adventure than his voice 
Forbidding ; and at once with him they rose ; 
Their rising all at once was as the sound 
Of thunder heard remote. Towards him they bend 
With awful reverence prone; and as a god 
him equal to the Highest in Heaven. 
Nor failed they to express how much they praised 480 
That for the general safety he despised 
His own; for neither do the Spirits damned 
Lose all their virtue; lest bad men should boast 
Their specious deeds on Earth, which glory excites, 




Or close ambition varnished o'er with zeal. 

Thus they their doubtful consultations dark 
Ended, rejoicing in their matchless Chief: 
As when from mountain-tops the dusky clouds 
Ascending, while the North-wind sleeps, o'erspread 
Heaven's cheerful face, the louring element 490 

Scowls o'er the darkened landskip snow or shower; 
If chance the radiant sun with farewell sweet 
Extend his evening beam, the fields revive, 
The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds 
Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings. 
O shame to men ! Devil with devil damned 
Firm concord holds, men only disagree 
Of creatures rational, though under hope 
Of heavenly grace ; and, God proclaiming peace, 
Yet live in hatred, enmity, and strife 500 

Among themselves, and levy cruel wars, 
Wasting the Earth, each other to destroy: 
As if (which might induce us to accord) 
Man had not hellish foes enow besides, 
That day and night for his destruction wait ! 

The Stygian council thus dissolved ; and forth 
In order came the grand infernal Peers; 
Midst came their mighty Paramount, and seemed 
Alone the antagonist of Heaven, nor less 
Than Hell's dread Emperor, with pomp supreme, 510 
And god-like imitated state; him round 
A globe of fiery Seraphim enclosed 
With bright emblazonry, and horrent arms. 
Then of their session ended they bid cry 
With trumpet's regal sound the great result: 
Toward the four winds four speedy Cherubim 
Put to their mouths the sounding alchymy, 

BOOK II. 53 

By harald's voice explained; the hollow Abyss 

Heard far and wide, and all the host of Hell 

With deafening shout returned them loud acclaim. 520 

Thence more at ease their minds and somewhat raised 

By false presumptuous hope, the ranged powers 

Disband ; and, wandering, each his several way 

Pursues, as inclination or sad choice 

Leads him perplexed, where he may likeliest find 

Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain 

The irksome hours, till his great Chief return. 

Part on the plain, or in the air sublime, 

Upon the wing or in swift race contend, 

As at the Olympian games or Pyjhian fields ; 530 

Part curb their fiery steeds, or shun the goal 

With rapid wheels, or fronted brigads form : 

As when, to warn proud cities, war appears 

Waged in the troubled sky, and armies rush 

To battle in the clouds; before each van 

Prick forth the aery knights, and couch their spears, 

Till thickest legions close ; with feats of arms 

From either end of Heaven the welkin burns. 

Others, with vast Typhoean rage more fell, 

Rend up both rocks and hills, and ride the air 540 

In whirlwind ; Hell scarce holds the wild uproar : 

As when Alcides, from GEchalia crowned 

With conquest, felt the envenomed robe, and tore 

Through pain up by the roots Thessalian pines, 

And Lichas from the top of (Eta threw 

Into the Euboic sea. Others more mild, 

Retreated in a silent valley, sing 

With notes angelical to many a harp 

Their own heroic deeds and hapless fall 

By doom of battle; and complain that Fate 550 


Free Virtue should enthrall to Force or Chance. 

Their song was partial, but the harmony 

(What could it less when Spirits immortal sing?) 

Suspended Hell, and took with ravishment 

The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet 

(For eloquence the soul, song charms the sense) 

Others apart sat on a hill retired, 

In thoughts more elevate, and reasoned high 

Of providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate, 

Fixed fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute, 560 

And found no end, in wandering mazes lost. 

Of good and evil much they argued then, 

Of happiness and final misery, 

Passion and apathy, and glory and shame, 

Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy ! 

Yet with a pleasing sorcery could charm 

Pain for a while or anguish, and excite 

Fallacious hope, or arm the obdured breast 

With stubborn patience as with triple steel. 

Another part, in squadrons and gross bands, 570 

On bold adventure to discover wide 

That dismal world, if any clime perhaps 

Might yield them easier habitation, bend 

Four ways their flying march, along the banks 

Of four infernal rivers that disgorge 

Into the burning lake their baleful streams: 

Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate; 

Sad Acheron of sorrow, black and deep; 

Cocytus, named of lamentation loud 

Heard on the rueful stream ; fierce Phlegethon, 580 

Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage. 

Far off from these a slow and silent stream, 

Lethe, the river of oblivion, rolls 

BOOK II. 55 

Her watery labyrinth, whereof who drinks 

Forthwith his former state and being forgets, 

Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain. 

Beyond this flood a frozen continent 

Lies dark and wild, beat with perpetual storms 

Of whirlwind and dire hail, which on firm land 

Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seems 590 

Of ancient pile ; all else deep snow and ice, 

A gulf profound as that Serbonian bog 

Betwixt Damiata and Mount Casius old, 

Where armies whole have sunk : the parching air 

Burns frore, and cold performs the effect of fire. 

Thither, by harpy-footed Furies haled, 

At certain revolutions all the damned 

Are brought; and feel by turns the bitter change 

Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce, 

From beds of raging fire to starve in ice 600 

Their soft ethereal warmth, and there to pine 

Immovable, infixed, and frozen round 

Periods of time ; thence hurried back to fire. 

They ferry over this Lethean sound 

Both to and fro, their sorrow to augment, 

And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach 

The tempting stream, with one small drop to lose 

In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe, 

All in one moment, and so near the brink ; 

But Fate withstands, and, to oppose the attempt, 610 

Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards 

The ford, and of itself the water flies 

All taste of living wight, as once it fled 

The lip of Tantalus. Thus roving on 

In confused march forlorn, the adventrous bands, 

With shuddering horror pale, and eyes aghast, 


Viewed first their lamentable lot, and found 

No rest. Through many a dark and dreary vale 

They passed, and many a region dolorous, 

O'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp, 620 

Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and shades of death, 

A universe of death, which God by curse 

Created evil, for evil only good, 

Where all life dies, death lives, and Nature breeds, 

Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things, 

Abominable, inutterable, and worse 

Than fables yet have feigned, or fear conceived, 

Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimseras dire. 

Meanwhile the Adversary of God and Man, 
Satan, with thoughts inflamed of highest design, 630 

Puts on swift wings, and toward the gates of Hell 
Explores his solitary flight; sometimes 
He scours the right'Tiand coast, sometimes the left; 
Now shaves with level wing the deep, then soars 
Up to the fiery concave towering high. 
As when far off at sea a fleet descried 
Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds 
Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles 
Of Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bring 
Their spicy drugs; they on the trading flood, 640 

Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape, 
Ply stemming nightly toward the pole : so seemed 
Far off the flying Fiend. At last appear 
Hell-bounds, high reaching to the horrid roof, 
And thrice threefold the gates; three folds were brass, 
Three iron, three of adamantine rock, 
Impenetrable, impaled with circling fire, 
Yet unconsumed. Before the gates there sat 
On either side a formidable Shape. 

BOOK II. 57 

The one seemed woman to the waist, and fair, 650 

I But ended foul in many a scaly fold 
1 Voluminous and vast, a serpent armed 
\With mortal sting. About her middle round 
^. cry of Hell-hounds never-ceasing barked 
With wide Cerbergan mouths full loud, and rung 
A hideous peal ; yet, when they list, would creep, 
If aught disturbed their noise, into her womb, 
And kennel there, yet there still barked and howled 
Within unseen. Far less abhorred than these 
Vexed Scylla, bathing in the sea that parts 660 

Calabria from the hoarse Trinacrian shore; 
Nor uglier follow the night-hag, when, called 
In secret, riding through the air she comes, 
Lured with the smell of infant blood, to dance 
With Lapland witches, while the labouring moon 
Eclipses at their charms. The other Shape 
If shape it might be called that shape had none 
Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb; 
Or substance might be called that shadow seemed, 
For each seemed either black it stood as Night, 670 
Fierce as ten Furies, terrible as Hell, 
And shook a dreadful dart; what seemed his head 
The likeness of a kingly crown had on. 
Satan was now at hand, and from his seat 
The monster moving onward came as fast, 
With horrid strides ; Hell trembled as he strode. 
The undaunted Fiend what this might be admired, K'OK 
Admired, not feared God and his Son except, 
Created thing naught valued he nor shunned 
And with disdainful look thus first began : 6So 

"Whence and what art thou, execrable Shape, 
That dar'st, though grim and terrible, advance 



Thy miscreated front athwart my way 
To yonder gates? Through them I mean to pass, 
That be assured, without leave asked of thee. 
Retire, or taste thy folly, and learn by proof, 
Hell-born, not to contend with Spirits of Heaven." 

To whom the Goblin, full of wrath, replied : 
"Art thou that Traitor- Angel, art thou he, 
j Who first broke peace in Heaven and faith, till then 690 
, Unbroken, and in proud rebellious arms 
! Drew after him the third part of Heaven's sons, 
\_ Conjured against the Highest, for which both thou 
And they, outcast from God, are here condemned 
To waste eternal days in woe and pain? 
And reckon'st thou thyself with Spirits of Heaven, 
Hell-doomed, and breath'st defiance here and scorn, 
Where I reign king, and, to enrage thee more, 
Thy king and lord? Back to thy punishment, 
False fugitive, and to thy speed add wings, 700 

Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue 
Thy lingering, or with one stroke of this dart 
Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt before." 

So spake the grisly Terror, and in shape, 
So speaking and so threatening, grew tenfold 
More dreadful and deform. On the other side, 
Incensed with indignation, Satan stood 
Unterrified, and like a comet burned, 
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge 
In the arctic sky, and from Els horrid hair 710 

Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the head 
Levelled his deadly aim; their fatal hands 
No second stroke intend ; and such a frown 
Each cast at the other, as when two black clouds, 
With Heaven's artillery fraught, come rattling on 

BOOK II. 59 

Over tiie Caspian, then stand front to front 

Hovering a space, till winds the signal blow 

To join their dark encounter in mid-air : 

So frowned the mighty combatants, that Hell 

Grew darker at their frown; so matched they stood; 720 

For never but once more was either like 

To meet so great a foe. And now great deeds 

Had been achieved, whereof all Hell had rung, 

Had not the snaky Sorceress, that sat 

Fast by Hell-gate and kept the fatal key, 

Risen, and with hideous outcry rushed between. 

"O father, what intends thy hand," she cried, 
"Against thy only son? What fury, O son, 
Possesses thee to bend that mortal dart 
Against thy father's head? and know'st for whom; 730 
For him who sits above, and laughs the while 
At thee ordained his drudge, to execute 
Whate'er his wrath, which he calls justice, bids 
His wrath, which one day will destroy ye both ! " 

She spake, and at her words the hellish Pest 
Forbore; then these to her Satan returned: 

"So strange thy outcry, and thy words so strange 
Thou interposest, that my sudden hand, 
Prevented, spares to tell thee yet by deeds 
What it intends, till first I know of thee 740 

What thing thou art, thus double-formed, and why, 
In this infernal vale first met, thou call'st 
Me father, and that phantasm call'st my son. 
I know thee not, nor ever saw till now 
Sight more detestable than him and thee." 

To whom thus the Portress of Hell-gate replied: 
" Hast thou forgot me then, and do I seem 
Now in thine eye so foul? once deemed so fair 


1 In .rleaven, when at the assembly, and in sight 
^)f all the Seraphim with thee combined 750 

I In bold conspiracy against Heaven's King, 
All on a sudden miserable pain 
Surprised thee; dim thine eyes, and dizzy swum 
In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast 
Threw forth, till on the left side opening wide, 
Likest to thee in shape and countenance bright, 
Then shining Heavenly-fair, a goddess armed, 
Out of thy head I sprung. Amazement seized 
All the host of Heaven; back they recoiled afraid 
At first, and called me Sin^ and for a sign 760 

Portentous held me; but, familiar grown, 
I pleased, and with attractive graces won 
The most averse, thee chiefly, who full oft 
Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing 
Becam'st enamoured; and such joy thou took'st 
With me in secret, that my womb conceived 
A growing burden. Meanwhile war arose, 
And fields were fought in Heaven ; wherein remained 
(For what could else?) to our almighty foe 
Clear victory, to our part loss and rout 770 

Through all the Empyrean. Down they fell, 
Driven headlong from the pitch of Heaven, down 
Into this deep, and in the general fall 
I also; at which time this powerful key 
Into my hands was given, with charge to keep 
These gates for ever shut, which none can pass 
Without my opening. Pensive here I sat 
Alone; but long I sat not, till my womb, 
Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown, 
Prodigious motion felt and rueful throes. 780 

At last this odious offspring whom thou seest, 

BOOK II. 6 1 

Thine own begotten, breaking violent way, 

Tore through my entrails, that, with fear and pain 

Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew 

Transformetl ; but he, my inbred enemy, 

Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart, 

Made to destroy. I fled, and cried out Death! 

Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sighed 

From all her caves, and back resounded Death ! 

I fled ; but he pursued (though more, it seems, 790 

Inflamed with lust than rage) and, swifter far, 

Me overtook, his mother, all dismayed, 

And, in embraces forcible and foul 

Engendering with me, of that rape begot 

These yelling monsters, that with ceaseless cry 

Surround me, as thou saw'st, hourly conceived 

And hourly born, with sorrow infinite 

To me; for, when they list, into the womb 

That bred them they return, and howl, and gnaw 

My bowels, their repast; then, bursting forth 800 

Afresh, with conscious terrors vex me round, 

That rest or intermission none I find. 

Before mine eyes in opposition sits 

Grim Death, my son and foe, who sets them on, 

And me, his parent, would full soon devour 

For want of other prey, but that he knows 

His end with mine involved, and knows that I 

Should prove a bitter morsel, and his bane, 

Whenever that shall be ; so Fate pronounced. 

But thou, O father, I forewarn thee, shun 810 

His deadly arrow ; neither vainly hope 

TcTbe invulnerable in those bright arms, 

Though tempered heavenly; for that mortal dint, 

Save he who reigns above, none can resist." 


She finished ; and the subtle Fiend his lore 
Soon learned, now milder, and thus answered smooth: 

"Dear daughter since thou claim'st me for thy sire, 
And my jajr son here show'st me, the dear pledge 
Of dalliance had with thee in Heaven, and joys 
Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire change 820 
Befallen us unforeseen, unthought of know, 
I come no enemy, but to set free 
From out this dark and dismal house of pain 
Both him and thee, and all the Heavenly host 
Of Spirits that, in our just pretences armed, 
Fell with us from on high. From them I go 
This uncouth errand sole, and one for all 
Myself expose, with lonely steps to tread 
The unfounded deep, and through the void immense 
To search with wandering quest a place foretold 830 

Should be, and, by concurring signs, ere now 
Created vast and round, a place of bliss 
In the purlieus of Heaven, and therein placed 
A race of upstart creatures, to supply 
Perhaps our vacant room, though more removed, 
Lest Heaven, surcharged with potent multitude, 
Might hap to move new broils. Be this, or aught 
Than this more secret, now designed, I haste 
To know; and, this once known, shall soon return, 
And bring ye to the place where thou and Death 840 
Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen 
Wing silently the buxom air, embalmed 
With odours : there ye shall be fed and filled 
Immeasurably; all things shall be your prey." 

He ceased, for both seemed highly pleased, and Death 
Grinned horrible a ghastly smile, to hear 
His famine should be filled, and blessed his maw 

BOOK II. 63 

Destined to that good hour. No less rejoiced 
His mother bad, and thus bespake her sire : 

"The key of this infernal pit, by due 850 

And by command of Heaven's all-powerful King, 
I keep, by him forbidden to unlock 
These adamantine gates; against all force 
Death ready stands to interpose his dart, 
Fearless to be o'ermatched by living might. 
But what owe I to his commands above, 
Who hates me, and hath hither thrust me down 
Into this gloom of Tartarus profound, 
To sit in hateful office here confined, 
Inhabitant of Heaven and Heavenly-born, 860 

Here in perpetual agony and pain, 
With terrors and with clamours compassed round 
Of mine own brood, that on my bowels feed? 
Thou art my father, thou my author, thou 
My being gav'st me; whom should I obey 
But thee? whom follow? Thou wilt bring me soon 
To that new world of .light and bliss, among 
The gods who live at ease, where I shall reign 
At thy right hand voluptuous, as beseems 
Thy daughter and thy darling, without end." 870 

Thus saying, from her side the fatal key, 
Sfad instrument of all our woe, she took; 
And, towards the gate rolling her bestial train, 
Forthwith the huge portcullis high up-drew, 
Which but herself not all the StygiajL-Powers 
Could once have moved; then in the key-hole turns 
The intricate wards, and every bolt and bar 
Of massy iron or solid rock with ease 
Unfastens : on a sudden open fly, 
With impetuous recoil and jarring sound, 880 


The infernal doors, and on their hinges grate 
Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook 
Of Erebus. She opened, but to shut 
Excelled her power; the gates wide open stood, 
That with extended wings a bannered host, 
Under spread ensigns marching, might pass through 
With horse and chariots ranked in loose array; 
So wide they stood, and like a furnace-mouth 
Cast forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame. 

f\ Before their eyes in sudden view appear 890 

( The secrets of the hoary deep, a dark 
* \ Illimitable ocean, without bound, 

\ Without dimension; where length, breadth, and highth, 

I And time, and place, are lost; where eldest Night 

/ And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold 
Eternal anarchy, amidst the noise 
Of endless wars, and by confusion stand. 
For Hot, Cold, Moist, and Dry, four champions fierce, 
Strive here for mastery, and to battle bring 
Their embryon atoms; they around the flag 900 

Of each his faction, in their several clans, 
Light-armed or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or slow, 
Swarm populous, unnumbered as the sands 
Of Barca or Gyrene's torrid soil, 
Levied to side with warring winds, and poise 
Their lighter wings. To whom these most adhere 
He rules a moment; Qiaos umpire sits, 
And by decision more emEroils the fray 
By which he reigns; next him, high arbiter, 
CJiance governs all. Into this wild Abyss, 910 

The womb of Nature, and perhaps her grave, 
Of neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire, 
But all these in their pregnant causes mixed 

BOOK II. 65 

Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight, 

Unless the Almighty Maker them ordain 

His dark materials to create more worlds 

Into this wild Abyss the wary Fiend 

Stood on the brink of Hell and looked a while, 

Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frith 

He had to cross. Nor was his ear less pealed 920 

With noises loud and ruinous (to compare 

Great things with small) than when Bellona storms, 

With all her battering engines bent tcTrase"" 

Some capital city; or less than if this frame 

Of Heaven were falling, and these elements 

In mutiny had from her axle torn 

The steadfast Earth. At last his sail-broad vans 

He spreads for flight, and in the surging smoke 

Uplifted spurns the ground; thence many a league, 

As in a cloudy chair, ascending rides 930 

Audacious; but, that seat soon failing, meets 

A vast vacuity : all unawares, 

Fluttering his pennons vain, plumb-down he drops 

Ten thousand fathom deep, and to this hour 

Down had been falling, had not by ill chance 

The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud, 

Instinct with fire and nitre, hurried him 

As many miles aloft ; that fury stayed 

Quenched in a boggy Syrtis, neither sea, 

Nor. good dry land nigh foundered, on he fares, 940 

Treading the crude consistence, half on foot, 

Half flying; behoves him now both oar and sail. 

As when a gryphon through the wilderness 

With winged course, o'er hill or moory dale, p 

Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth 

Had from his wakeful custody purloined 

p. L. c 


The guarded gold : so eagerly the Fiend 

O'er bog or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare, 

With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way, 

And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies. 950 

At length a universal hubbub wild 

Of stunning sounds and voices all confused, 

Borne through the hollow dark, assaults his ear 

With loudest vehemence. Thither he plies 

Undaunted, to meet there whatever Power 

Or Spirit of the nethermost Abyss 

Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask 

Which way the nearest coast of darkness lies 

Bordering on light; when straight behold the throne 

Of Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread 960 

Wide on the wasteful Deep! With him enthroned 

Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things, 

The consort of his reign ; and by them stood 

Orcus and Ades, and the dreaded name 

Of Demogorgon; Rumour next and Chance, 

And Tumult and Confusion all embroiled, 

And Discord with a thousand various mouths. 

To whom Satan, turning boldly, thus : " Ye Powers 
And Spirits of this nethermost Abyss, 
Chaos and ancient Night, I come no spy, 970 

With purpose to explore or to disturb 
The secrets of your realm ; but, by constraint 
Wandering this darksome desert, as my way 
Lies through your spacious empire up to light, 
Alone and without guide, half lost, I seek, 
What readiest path leads where your gloomy bounds 
Confine with Heaven ; or if some other place, 
From your dominion won, the Ethereal King 
Possesses lately, thither to arrive 


6 7 

I travel this profound. Direct my course : 980 

Directed, no mean recompense it brings 

To your behoof, if I that region lost, 

All usurpation thence expelled, reduce 

To her original darkness and your sway 

(Which is my present journey), and once more 

Erect the standard there of ancient Night 

Yours be the advantage all, mine the revenge !" 

Thus Satan ; and him thus the Anarch old, 
With faltering speech and visage incomposed, 
Answered: "I know thee, stranger, who thou art, 990 
That mighty leading Angel, who of late 
Made head against Heaven's King, though overthrown. 
I saw and heard ; for such a numerous host 
Fled not in silence through the frighted deep, 
With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout, 
Confusion worse confounded; and Heaven-gates 
Poured out by millions her victorious bands, 
Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here 
Keep residence ; if all I can will serve 
That little which is left so to defend, 1000 

Encroached on still through our intestine broils 
Weakening the sceptre of old Night : first Hell, 
Your dungeon, stretching far and wide beneath; 
Now lately Heaven and Earth, another world 
Hung o'er my realm, linked in a golden chain 
To that side Heaven from whence your legions fell. 
If that way be your walk, you have not far; 
So much the nearer danger. Go, and speed! 
Havoc, and spoil, and ruin, are my gain." 

He ceased; and Satan stayed not to reply, 1010 

But, glad that now his sea should find a shore, 
With fresh alacrity and force renewed 



Springs upward, like a pyramid of fire, 

Into the wild expanse, and through the shock 

Of fighting elements, on all sides round 

Environed, wins his way; harder beset 

And more endangered, than when Argo passed 

Through Bosporus betwixt the justling rocks; 

Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunned 

Charybdis, and by the other whirlpool steered : 1020 

So he with difficulty and labour hard 

Moved on : with difficulty and labour he ; 

But, he once passed, soon after, when Man fell, 

Strange alteration ! Sin and Death amain, 

Following his track (such was the will of Heaven) 

Paved after him a broad and beaten way 

Over the dark Abyss, whose boiling gulf 

Tamely endured a bridge of wondrous length, 

From Hell continued, reaching the utmost orb 

Of this frail world; by which the Spirits perverse 1030 

With easy intercourse pass to and fro 

To tempt or punish mortals, except whom 

God and good Angels guard by special grace. 

But now at last the sacred influence 
Of light appears, and from the walls of Heaven 
Shoots far into the bosom of dim Night 
A glimmering dawn. Here Nature first begins 
Her farthest verge, and Chaos to retire, 
As from her outmost works, a broken foe, 
With tumult less and with less hostile din ; 1040 

That Satan with less toil, and now with ease, 
Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light, 
And, like a weather-beaten vessel, holds 
Gladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn; 
Or in the emptier waste, resembling air, 

BOOK II. 69 

Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold 

Far off the empyreal Heaven, extended wide 

In circuit, undetermined square or round, 

With opal towers and battlements adorned 

Of living sapphire, once his native seat; 1050 

And fast by, hanging in a golden chain, 

This pendent world, in bigness as a star 

Of smallest magnitude close by the moon. 

Thither, full fraught with mischievous revenge, 

Accurst, and in a cursed hour, he hies. 



God, sitting on his throne, sees Satan flying towards this World, 
then newly created; shows him to the Son, who sat at his right hand; 
foretells the success of Satan in perverting mankind; clears his own 
justice and wisdom from all imputation, having created Man free, and 
able enough to have withstood his Tempter; yet declares his purpose of 
grace towards him, in regard he fell not of his own malice, as did 
Satan, but by him seduced. The Son of God renders praises to his 
Father for the manifestation of his gracious purpose towards Man ; but 
God again declares that grace cannot be extended towards Man without 
the satisfaction of Divine Justice : Man hath offended the majesty of 
God by aspiring to Godhead, and therefore, with all his progeny, 
devoted to death, must die, unless some one can be found sufficient to 
answer for his offence, and undergo his punishment. The Son of God 
freely offers himself a ransom for Man : the Father accepts him, ordains 
his incarnation, pronounces his exaltation above all names in Heaven and 
Earth ; commands all the Angels to adore him : they obey, and, hymning 
to their harps in full quire, celebrate the Father and the Son. Mean- 
while Satan alights upon the bare convex of this World's outermost 
orb; where wandering he first finds a place since called the Limbo of 
Vanity; what persons and things fly up thither: thence comes to the 
gate of Heaven, described ascending by stairs, and the waters above the 
firmament that flow about it. His passage thence to the orb of the 
Sun: he finds there Uriel, the regent of that orb, but first changes 
himself into the shape of a meaner Angel, and pretending a zealous 
desire to behold the new Creation, and Man whom God had placed 
here, inquires of him the place of his habitation, and is directed : alights 
first on Mount Niphates. 


HAIL, holy Light, offspring of Heaven first-born! 
Or of the Eternal coeternal beam 
May I express thee unblamed? since God is light, 
And never but in unapproached light 
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee, 
Bright effluence of bright essence increate! 
Or hear'st thou rather pure Ethereal stream, 
Whose fountain who shall tell? Before the sun, 
Before the Heavens, thou wert, and at the voice 
Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest 10 

The rising World of waters dark and deep, 
Won from the void and formless infinite! 
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing, 
EscagedLlhe.-. Stygian pool, though long detained 
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight, 
Through utter and through middle darkness borne, 
With other notes than to the Orphean lyre 
I sung of Chaos and eternal Night; 
Taught by trie Heavenly Muse to venture down 
The dark descent, and up to re-ascend, 20 

Though hard and rare : thee I revisit safe, 
And feel thy sovran vital lamp ; but thou 


Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain 

To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn; 

So thick a drop serene hath quenched their orbs, 

Or dim suffusion veiled. Yet not the more 

Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt 

Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill, 

Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief 

Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath, 30 

That wash thy hallowed feet, and warbling flow, 

Nightly I visit; nor sometimes forget 

Those other two equalled with me in fate, 

So were I equalled with them in renown, 

Blind Thamyris and blind Masonides, 

And Tiresias and Phmeus T prophets old: 

Then feed on thoughts that voluntary move 

Harmonious numbers ; as the wakeful bird 

Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid 

Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year 40 

Seasons return; but not to me returns 

Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn, 

Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose, 

Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine; 

But cloud instead and ever-during dark 

Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men 

Cut off, and, for the book of knowledge fair, 

Presented with a universal blank 

Of Nature's works, to me expunged and rased, 

And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out. 50 

So much the rather thou, celestial Light, 

Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers 

Irradiate : there plant eyes, all mist from thence 

Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell 

Of things invisible to mortal sight. 


Now had the Almighty Father from above, 
From the pure Empyrean where he sits 
High throned above all highth, bent down his eye, 
His own works and their works at once to view : 
About him all the Sanctities of Heaven 60 

Stood thick as stars, and from his sight received 
Beatitude past utterance; on his right 
TheradiantiiTiage of his ^glory-sat, 
His only Son. On Earth he first beheld 
Our two first 'parents, yet the only two 
Of mankind, in the Happy Garden placed, 
Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love, 
Uninterrupted joy, unrivalled love, 
In blissful solitude. He then surveyed 
Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there, 70 

Coasting the wall of Heaven on this side Night 
In the dun air sublime, and ready now 
To stoop with wearied wings and willing feet 
On the bare outside of this World, that seemed 
Firm land imbosomed without firmament, 
Uncertain which, in ocean or in air. 
Him God beholding from his prospect high, 
Wherein past, present, future, he beholds, 
Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake: 

" Onlyj-begotten Son, seest thou what rage 80 

fljr Af1vprc;gry_?_wjinm ru 

Prescribed, no bars of Hell, nor all the chains 
' Heaped on him there, nor yet the main Abyss 
| Wide interrupt, can hold ; so bent he seems 
\On desperate revenge, that shall redound 
I Upon his own rebellious head. And now, 
'Through all restraint broke loose, he wings his way 
Not far off Heaven, in the precincts of light, 


f Directly towards the new-created World, 

" And Man there placed, with purpose to assay 90 

If him by force he can destroy, or, worse, 
By some false guile pervert : and shall pervert ; 
For Man will hearken to his glozing lies, 
And easily transgress the sole command, 
Sole pledge of his obedience; so will fall 
He and his faithless progeny. Tvhose fault? 
Whose but his own? Ingrate, he had of me 
All he could have; I made him just and right, 
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall. 
Such I created all the ethereal powers 100 

And Spirits, both them who stood and them who failed : 
Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell. 
Not free, what proof could they have given sincere 
Of true allegiance, constant faith, or love, 
Where only what they needs must do appeared, 
Not what they would? what praise could they receive, 
What pleasure I, from such obedience paid, 
When will and reason reason also is choice- 
Useless and vain, of freedom both despoiled, 
Made passive both, had served necessity, no 

Not me?J They therefore, as to right belonged, 
So were created, nor can justly accuse 
Their Maker, or their making, or their fate, 
As if predestination overruled 
Their will, disposed by absolute decree 
Or high foreknowledge. They themselves decreed 
Their own revolt, not I : if I foreknew, 
Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault, 
Which had no less proved certain unforeknown. 
So without least impulse or shadow of fate, 120 

Or aught by me immutably foreseen, 


They trespass, authors to themselves in all, 
Both what they judge and what they choose; for so 
I formed them free, and free they must remain 
Till they enthrall themselves : I else must change 
Their nature, and revoke the high decree 
Unchangeable, eternal, which ordained 
Their freedom ; they themselves ordained their fall. 
The first sort by their own suggestion fell,.- 
Self-tempted, self-depraved ; JVlan. Jalls^.. deceived 130 

By the other first: Man therefore- -shall find grace; 
ThejDther, none. In mercy and justice both,. 
Through Heaven and Earth, so shall my glory excel; 
.But mercy, first and last, shall brightest shine." 

Thus while God spake ambrosial fragrance filled 
All Heaven, and in the blessed Spirits elect 
Sense of new joy ineffable diffused. 
Beyond compare the Son of God was seen 
Most glorious; in him all his Father shone 
Substantially expressed ; and in his face 140 

Divine compassion visibly appeared, 
Love without end, and without measure grace; 
Which uttering, thus he to his Father spake : 

"O Father, gracious was that word which closed 
Thy sovran sentence, that Man should find grace; 
For which both Heaven and Earth shall high extol 
Thy praises, with the innumerable sound 
Of hymns and sacred songs, wherewith thy throne 
Encompassed shall resound thee ever blest. 
For should Man finally be lost, should Man, 150 

Thy creature late so loved, thy youngest son, 
Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though joined 
With his own folly? that be from thee far, 
That far be from thee, Father, who art judge 


Of all things made, and judgest only right! 

Or shall the Adversary thus obtain 

His end, and frustrate thine? shall he fulfil 

His malice, and thy goodness bring to naught? 

Or proud return, though to his heavier doom, 

Yet with revenge accomplished, and to Hell 160 

Draw after him the whole race of mankind, 

By him corrupted? or wilt thou thyself 

Abolish thy creation, and unmake, 

For him, what for thy glory thou hast made? 

So should thy goodness and thy greatness both 

Be questioned and blasphemed without defence." 

To whom the great Creator thus replied : 
"O Son, in whom my soul hath chief delight, 
Son of my bosom, Son who art alone 
My word, my wisdom, and effectual might, 170 

All hast thou spoken as my thoughts are, all 
As my eternal purpose hath decreed. 
Man shall not quite be lost, but saved who will; 
Yet not of will in him, but grace in me 
Freely vouchsafed. Once more I will renew 
His lapsed powers, though forfeit, and enthralled 
By sin to foul exorbitant desires : 
Upheld by me, yet once more he shall stand 
On even ground against his mortal foe; 
By me upheld, that he may know how frail 180 

His fallen condition is, and to me owe 
All his deliverance, and to none but me. 
Some I have chosen of peculiar grace, 
Elect above the rest ; so is my will : 
The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warned 
Their sinful state, and to appease betimes 
The incensed Deity, while offered grace 


Invites; for I will clear their senses dark, 
What may suffice, and soften stony hearts 
To pray, repent, and bring obedience due. 190 

To prayer, repentance, and obedience due, 
Though but endeavoured with sincere intent, 
Mine ear shall not be slow, mine eye not shut. 
And I will place within them as a guide 
My umpire Conscience; whom if they will hear, 
Light after light well used they shall attain, 
And to the end persisting safe arrive. 
This my long sufferance and my day of grace 
They who neglect and scorn shall never taste; 
But hard be hardened, blind be blinded more, 200 

That they may stumble on, and deeper fall; 
And none but such from mercy I exclude. 
But yet all is not done. Man, disobeying, 
Disloyal breaks his fealty, and sins 
Against the high supremacy of Heaven, 
Affecting Godhead, and so, losing all, 
To expiate his treason . hath naught left, 
But, to destruction sacred and devote, 
He with his whole posterity must die- 
Die he or justice must; unless for him 210 
Some other, able and as willing, pay 
The rigid satisfaction, death for death. 
Say, Heavenly powers, where shall we find such love? 
Which of ye will be mortal, to redeem 
Man's mortal crime, and just the unjust to save? 
Dwells in all Heaven charity so dear?" 

He asked, but all the Heavenly quire stood mute, 
And silence was in Heaven : on Man's behalf 
Patron or intercessor none appeared 
Much less that durst upon his own head draw 220 


The deadly forfeiture, and ransom set. 

And now without redemption all mankind 

Must have been lost, adjudged to Death and Hell 

By doom severe, had not the Son of God, 

In whom the fulness dwells of love divine, 

His dearest mediation thus renewed : 

" Father, thy word is passed, Man shall find grace ; 
And shall grace not find means, that finds her way, 
The speediest of thy winged messengers, 
To Visit all thy creatures, and to all 230 

Comes unprevented, unimplored, unsought? 
Happy for Man, so coming ! He her aid 
Can never seek, once dead in sins and lost; 
Atonement for himself, or offering meet, 
Indebted and undone, hath none to bring. 
Behold me, then : me for him, life for life, 
I offer; on me let thine anger fall; 
Account me Man : I for his sake will leave 
Thy bosom, and this glory next to thee 
Freely put off, and for him lastly die 240 

Well pleased ; on me let Death wreak all his rage : 
Under his gloomy power I shall not long 
Lie vanquished : thou hast given me to possess 
Life in myself for ever ; by thee I live ; 
Though now to Death I yield, and am his due, 
All that of me can die, yet, that debt paid, 
Thou wilt not leave me in the loathsome grave, 
His prey, nor suffer my unspotted soul 
For ever with corruption there to dwell; 
But I shall rise victorious, and subdue 250 

My vanquisher, spoiled of his vaunted spoil. 
Death his death's wound shall then receive, and stoop 
Inglorious, of his mortal sting disarmed; 

BOOK III. 8 1 

I through the ample air in triumph high 

Shall lead Hell captive maugre Hell, and show 

The powers of Darkness bound. Thou, at the sight 

Pleased, out of Heaven shalt look down and smile, 

While, by thee raised, I ruin all my foes, 

Death last, and with his carcase glut the grave; 

Then, with the multitude of my redeemed, 260 

Shall enter Heaven, long absent, and return. 

Father, to see thy face, wherein no cloud 

Of anger shall remain, but peace assured 

And reconcilement : wrath shall be no more 

Thenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire." 

His words here ended; but his meek aspect 
Silent yet spake, and breathed immortal love 
To mortal men, above which only shone 
Filial obedience : as a sacrifice 

Glad to be offered, he attends the will 270 

Of his great Father. Admiration seized 
All Heaven, what this might mean, and whither tend, 
Wondering ; but soon the Almighty thus replied : 

" O thou in Heaven and Earth the only peace 
Found out for mankind under wrath, O thou 
My sole complacence ! well thou know'st how dear 
To me are all my works ; nor Man the least, 
Though last created, that for him I spare 
Thee from my bosom and right hand, to save, 
By losing thee a while, the whole race lost ! 280 

Thou therefore, whom thou only canst redeem, 
Their nature also to thy nature join; 
And be thyself Man among men on Earth, 
Made flesh, when time shall be, of virgin seed, 
By wondrous birth; be thou in Adam's room 
The head of all mankind, though Adam's son. 

P. L. < 


As in him perish all men, so in thee, 

As from a second root, shall be restored 

As many as are restored ; without thee, none. 

His crime makes guilty all his sons; thy merit, 290 

Imputed, shall absolve them who renounce 

Their own both righteous and unrighteous deeds, 

And live in thee transplanted, and from thee 

Receive new life. So Man, as is most just, 

Shall satisfy for Man, be judged and die, 

And dying rise, and rising with him raise 

His brethren, ransomed with his own dear life. 

So Heavenly love shall outdo Hellish hate, 

Giving to death, and dying to redeem, 

So dearly to redeem what Hellish hate 300 

So easily destroyed, and still destroys 

In those who, when they may, accept not grace. 

Nor shalt thou, by descending to assume 

Man's nature, lessen or degrade thine own. 

Because thou hast, though throned in highest bliss 

Equal to God, and equally enjoying 

God-like fruition, quitted all to save 

A world from utter loss, and hast been found 

By merit more than birthright Son of God 

Found worthiest to be so by being good, 310 

Far more than great or high ; because in thee 

Love hath abounded more than glory abounds; 

Therefore thy humiliation shall exalt 

With thee thy manhood also to this throne : 

Here shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt reign 

Both God and Man, Son both of God and Man, 

Anointed universal King. All power 

I give thee; reign for ever, and assume 

Thy merits; under thee, as Head supreme, 


Thrones, Princedoms, Powers, Dominions, I reduce: 320 

All knees to thee shall bow of them that bide 

In Heaven, or Earth, or under Earth in Hell. 

When thou, attended gloriously from Heaven, 

Shalt in the sky appear, and from thee send 

The summoning Archangels to proclaim 

Thy dread tribunal, forthwith from all winds 

The living, and forthwith the cited dead 

Of all past ages, to the general doom 

Shall hasten : such a peal shall rouse their sleep. 

Then, all thy Saints assembled, thou shalt judge 330 

Bad men and Angels; they arraigned shall sink 

Beneath thy sentence ; Hell, her numbers full, 

Thenceforth shall be for ever shut. Meanwhile 

The World shall burn, and from her ashes spring 

New Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell, 

And after all their tribulations long 

See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds, 

With Joy and Love triumphing, and fair Truth. 

Then thou thy regal sceptre shalt lay by, 

For regal sceptre then no more shall need; 340 

God shall be all in all. But all ye gods, 

Adore him who, to compass all this, dies; 

Adore the Son, and honour him as me." 

No sooner had the Almighty ceased, but all 
The multitude of Angels, with a shout 
Loud as from numbers without number, sweet 
As from blest voices, uttering joy Heaven rung 
With jubilee, and loud hosannas filled 
The eternal regions. Lowly reverent 

Towards either throne they bow, and to the ground 350 
With solemn adoration down they cast 
Their crowns inwove with amarant and gold : 



Immortal amarant, a flower which once 
In Paradise, fast by the Tree of Life, 
Began to bloom, but soon for Man's offence 
To Heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows 
And flowers aloft, shading the Fount of Life, 
And where the River of Bliss through midst of Heaven 
Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream. 
With these that never fade the Spirits elect 360 

Bind their resplendent locks inwreathed with beams. 
Now in loose garlands thick thrown off, the bright 
Pavement, that like a sea of jasper shone, 
Impurpled with celestial roses smiled. 
Then, crowned again, their golden harps they took, 
Harps ever tuned, that glittering by their side 
Like quivers hung; and with preamble sweet 
Of charming symphony they introduce 
Their sacred song, and waken raptures high : 
No voice exempt, no voice but well could join 370 

Melodious part; such concord is in Heaven. 
Thee, Father, first they sung, Omnipotent, 

' Immutable, Immortal, Infinite, 
Eternal King ; thee, Author of all being, 
Fountain of light, thyself invisible 

' Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sitt'st 
Throned inaccessible, but when thou shadest 
The full blaze of thy beams, and through a cloud 
Drawn round about thee like a radiant shrine 
Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear, 380 

Yet dazzle Heaven, that brightest Seraphim 
Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes. 
Thee next they sang, of all creation first, 
Begotten Son, Divine Similitude, 
In whose conspicuous countenance, without cloud 


Made visible, the Almighty Father shines, 

Whom else no creature can behold : on thee 

Impressed the effulgence of his glory abides ; 

Transfused on thee his ample Spirit rests. 

He Heaven of Heavens, and all the powers therein, 390 

By thee created; and by thee threw down 

The aspiring Dominations. Thou that day 

Thy Father's dreadful thunder didst not spare, 

Nor stop thy flaming chariot-wheels, that shook 

Heaven's everlasting frame, while o'er the necks 

Thou drov'st of warring Angels disarrayed. 

Back from pursuit, thy powers with loud acclaim 

Thee only extolled, Son of thy Father's might, 

To execute fierce vengeance on his foes; 

Not so on Man; him, through their malice fallen, 400 

Father of mercy and grace, thou didst not doom 

So strictly, but much more to pity incline. 

No sooner did thy dear and only Son 

Perceive thee purposed not to doom frail Man 

So strictly, but much more to pity inclined, 

He, to appease thy wrath, and end the strife 

Of mercy and justice in thy face discerned, 

Regardless of the bliss wherein he sat 

Second to thee, offered himself to die 

For Man's offence. O unexampled love ! 410 

Love nowhere to be found less than divine! 

Hail, Son of God, Saviour of men ! Thy name 

Shall be the copious matter of my song 

Henceforth, and never shall my harp thy praise 

Forget, nor from thy Father's praise disjoin ! 

Thus they in Heaven, above the starry sphere, 
Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent. 
Meanwhile, upon the firm opacous globe 


Of this round World, whose first convex divides 

The luminous inferior orbs, enclosed 420 

From Chaos and the inroad of Darkness old, 

Satan alighted walks. A globe far off 

It seemed; now seems a boundless continent, 

Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night 

Starless exposed, and ever-threatening storms 

Of Chaos blustering round, inclement sky; 

Save on that side which from the wall of Heaven, 

Though distant far, some small reflection gains 

Of glimmering air less vexed with tempest loud : 

Here walked the Fiend at large in spacious field. 430 

As when a vulture on Imaus bred, 

Whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds, 

Dislodging from a region scarce of prey, 

To gorge the flesh of lambs or yeanling kids 

On hills where flocks are fed, flies toward the springs 

Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams; 

BuTm his* way tignTson the barren plains 

Of Sericana, where Chineses drive 

With sails and wind their cany waggons light: 

So, on this windy sea of land, the Fiend 440 

Walked up and down alone, bent on his prey; 

Alone, for other creature in this place, 

Living or lifeless, to be found was none 

None yet; but store hereafter from the Earth 

Up hither like aerial vapours flew 

Of all things transitory and vain, when sin 

With vanity had filled the works of men : 

Both all things vain, and all who in vain things 

Built their fond hopes of glory or lasting fame, 

Or happiness in this or the other life. 450 

All who have their reward on earth, the fruits 


Of painful superstition and blind zeal, 

Naught seeking but the praise of men, here find 

Fit retribution, empty as their deeds; 

All the unaccomplished works of Nature's hand, 

Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mixed, 

Dissolved on Earth, fleet hither, and in vain, 

Till final dissolution, wander here; 

Not in the neighbouring moon, as some have dreamed : 

Those argent fields more likely habitants, 460 

Translated saints, or middle Spirits, hold, 

Betwixt the angelical and human kind. 

Hither, of ill-joined sons and daughters born, 

First from the ancient world those giants came, 

With many a vain exploit, though then renowned; 

The builders next of Babel on the plain 

Of Sennaar, and still with vain design 

New Babels, had they wherewithal, would build; 

Others came single : he who, to be deemed 

A god, leaped fondly into ^Etna flames, 470 

Empedocles ; and he who, to enjoy 

Plato's Elysium, leaped into the sea, 

Cleombrptiis,; and many more, too long, 

Embryos and idiots, eremites and friars, 

White, black, and grey, with all their trumpery. 

Here pilgrims roam, that strayed so far to seek 

In Golgotha him dead who lives in Heaven; 

And they who, to be sure of Paradise, 

Dying put on the weeds of Dominic, 

Or in Franciscan think to pass disguised. 480 

They pass the planets seven, and pass the fixed, 

And that crystalline sphere whose balance weighs 

The trepidation talked, and that first moved; 

And now Saint Peter at Heaven's wicket seems 


To wait them with his keys, and now at foot 

Of Heaven's ascent they lift their feet, when, lo ! 

A violent cross wind from either coast 

Blows them transverse, ten thousand leagues awry, 

Into the devious air. Then might ye see 

Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers, tost 490 

And fluttered into rags; then reliques, beads, 

Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls, 

The sport of winds : all these, upwhirled aloft, 

Fly o'er the backside of the World far off 

Into a limbo large and broad, since called 

The Paradise of Fools; to few unknown 

Long after, now unpeopled and untrod. 

All this dark globe the Fiend found as he passed; 
\ And long he wandered, till at last a gleam 
\Of dawning light turned thitherward in haste 500 

fHis travelled steps. Far distant he descries, 
Ascending by degrees magnificent 
Up to the wall of Heaven, a structure high; 
At top whereof, but far more rich, appeared 
The work as of a kingly palace-gate, 
With frontispiece of diamond and gold 
Embellished; thick with sparkling orient gems 
The portal shone, inimitable on Earth 
By model, or by shading pencil drawn. 
The stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw 510 

Angels ascending and descending, bands 
Of guardians bright, when he from Esau fled 
To Padan-Aram, in the field of Luz 
Dreaming by night under the open sky, 
And waking cried, "This is the gate of Heaven." 
Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood 
There always, but drawn up to Heaven sometimes 


Viewless ; and underneath a bright sea flowed 

Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon 

Who after came from Earth sailing arrived, 520 

Wafted by Angels, or flew o'er the lake, 

Rapt in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds. 

The stairs were then let down, whether to dare 

The Fiend by easy ascent, or aggravate 

His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss ; 

Direct against which opened from beneath, 

Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise, 

A passage down to the Earth, a passage wide; 

Wider by far than that of after-times 

Over Mount Sion, and, though that were large, 530 

Over the Promised Land to God so dear; 

By which, to visit oft those happy tribes, 

On high behests his Angels to and fro 

Passed frequent, and his eye with choice regard, 

From Paneas, the fount of Jordan's flood, 

To Begisaha* where the Holy Land 

Borders on Egypt and. the Arabian shore. 

So wide the opening seemed, where bounds were set 

To darkness, such as bound the ocean wave. 

Satan from hence, now on the lower stair, 540 

That scaled by steps of gold to Heaven-gate, 
Ldoks"Hown with wonder at the sudden view 
Of all this World at once. As when a scout, 
Through dark and desert ways with peril gone 
All night, at last by break of cheerful dawn 
Obtains the brow of some high-climbing hill, 
Which to his eye discovers unaware 
|The goodly prospect of some foreign land 
tirst seen, or some renowned metropolis 
jVith glistering spires and pinnacles adorned, 550 


Which now the rising sun gilds with his beams : 

Such wonder seized, though after Heaven seen, 

The Spirit malign, but much more envy seized, 

At sight of all this World beheld so fair. 

Round he surveys (and well might where he stood, 

So high above the circling canopy 

Of Night's extended shade) from eastern point 

Of Libra to the fleecy star that bears 

Andromeda far off Atlantic seas 

Beyond the horizon; then from pole to pole 560 

He views in breadth; and, without longer pause, 

Down right into the World's first region throws 

His flight precipitant, and winds with ease 

Through the pure marble air his oblique way 

Amongst innumerable stars, that shone 

Stars distant, but nigh-hand seemed other worlds. 

Or other worlds they seemed, or happy isles, 

Like those Hesperian Gardens famed of old, 

Fortunate fields, and groves, and flowery vales, 

Thrice happy isles; but who dwelt happy there 570 

He stayed not to inquire. Above them all 

The golden sun, in splendour likest Heaven, 

Allured his eye. Thither his course he bends, 

Through the calm firmament (but up or down, 

By centre or eccentric, hard to tell, 

Or longitude) where the great luminary, 

Aloof the vulgar constellations thick, 

That from his lordly eye keep distance due, 

Dispenses light from far. They, as they move 

Their starry dance in numbers that compute 580 

Days, months, and years, towards his all-cheering lamp 

Turn swift their various motions, or are turned 

By his magnetic beam, that gently warms 


The Universe, and to each inward part 
With gentle penetration, though unseen, 
Shoots invisible virtue even to the deep; 
So wondrously was set his station bright. 

There lands the Fiend, a spot like which perhaps 
Astronomer in the sun's lucent orb 

Through his glazed optic tube yet never saw. 590 

The place he found beyond expression bright, 
Compared with aught on Earth, metal or stone; 
' Not all parts like, but all alike informed 
1 With radiant light, as glowing iron with fire : 
1 If metal, part seemed gold, part silver clear ; 
\If stone, carbuncle most or chrysolite, 
Ruby or topaz, to tjffi J-WAW ti<- chnn^ 
In Aaron's breast-plate, and a stone besides, 
Imagined rather oft than elsewhere seen 
That stone, or like to that, which here below 600 

Philosophers in vain so long have sought; 
In vain, though by their powerful art they bind 
Volatile Hermes, and call up unbound 
In various shapes old Proteus from the sea, 
Drained through a limbec to his native form. 
What wonder then if fields and regions here 
Breathe forth elixir pure, and rivers run 
Potable gold, when, with one virtuous touch, 
The arch-chemic sun, so far from us remote, 
Produces, with terrestrial humour mixed, 610 

Here in the dark so many precious things 
Of colour glorious and effect so rare? 
Here matter new to gaze the Devil met 
Undazzled. Far and wide his eye commands; 
For sight no obstacle found here, nor shade, 
But all sunshine, as when his beams at noon 


Culminate from the equator, as they now 

Shot upward still direct, whence no way round 

Shadow from body opaque can fall ; and the air, 

Nowhere so clear, sharpened his visual ray 620 

To objects distant far, whereby he soon 

Saw within ken a glorious Angel stand, 

The same whom John saw also in the sun. 

His back was turned, but not his brightness hid; 

Of beaming sunny rays a golden tiar 

Circled his head, nor less his locks behind 

Illustrious on his shoulders fledge with wings 

Lay waving round : on some great charge employed 

He seemed, or fixed in cogitation deep. 

Glad was the Spirit impure, as now in hope 630 

I To find who might direct his wandering flight 

\ To Paradise, the happy seat of Man, 

\His journey's end, and our beginning woe. 

'jBut first he casts to change his proper shape, 

^Vhich else might work him danger or delay: 

And now a stripling Cherub he appears, 

Not of the prime, yet such as in his face 

Youth smiled celestial, and to every limb 

Suitable grace diffused; so well he feigned. 

Under a coronet his flowing hair 640 

In curls on either cheek played; wings he wore 

Of many a coloured plume sprinkled with gold, 

His habit fit for speed succinct; and held 

Before his decent steps a silver wand. 

He drew not nigh unheard; the Angel bright, 

Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turned, 

Admonished by his ear, and straight was known 

The Archangel Uriel; one of the seven 

Who in God's presence, nearest to his throne, 


Stand ready at command, and are his eyes 650 

That run through all the Heavens, or down to the Earth 
Bear his swift errands over moist and dry, 
O'er sea and land. Him Satan thus accosts : 

" Uriel ! for thou of those seven Spirits that stand 
In sight of God's high throne, gloriously bright, 
The first art wont his great authentic will 
Interpreter through highest Heaverf to bring, 
Where all his Sons thy embassy attend ; 
And here art likeliest by supreme decree 
Like honour to obtain, and as his eye 660 

To visit oft this new creation round ; 
Unspeakable desire to see and know 
All these his wondrous works, but chiefly Man, 
His chief delight and favour, him for whom 
All these his works so wondrous he ordained, 
Hath brought me from the quires of Cherubim 
Alone thus wandering. Brightest Seraph, tell 
In which of all these shining orbs hath Man 
His fixed seat; or fixed seat hath none, 
But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell; 670 

That I may find him, and with secret gaze 
Or open admiration him behold 
On whom the great Creator hath bestowed 
Worlds, and on whom hath all these graces poured; 
That both in him and all things, as is meet, 
The Universal Maker we may praise; 
Who justly hath driven out his rebel foes 
To deepest Hell, and, to repair that loss, 
Created this new happy race of Men 
To serve him better: wise are all his ways!" 680 

So spake the false dissembler unperceived; 
For neither man nor Angel can discern 


Hypocrisy, the only evil that walks 

Invisible, except to God alone, 

By his permissive will, through Heaven and Earth; 

And oft, though Wisdom wake, Suspicion sleeps 

At Wisdom's gate, and to Simplicity 

Resigns her charge, while Goodness thinks no ill 

Where no ill seems : which now for once beguiled 

Uriel, though regent of the sun, and held 690 

The sharpest-sighted Spirit of all in Heaven; 

Who to the fraudulent impostor foul, 

In his uprightness, answer thus returned: 

"Fair Angel, thy desire, which tends to know 
The works of God, thereby to glorify 
The great Work-master, leads to no excess 
That reaches blame, but rather merits praise 
The more it seems excess, that led thee hither 
From thy empyreal mansion thus alone, 
To witness with thine eyes what some perhaps, 700 

Con tented with report, hear only in Heaven; 
For wonderful indeed are all his works, 
Pleasant to know, and worthiest to be all 
Had in remembrance always with delight! 
But what created mind can comprehend 
Their number, or the wisdom infinite 
That brought them forth, but hid their causes deep? 
I saw when at his word the formless mass, 
This World's material mould, came to a heap: 
Confusion heard his voice, and wild uproar 710 

Stood ruled, stood vast infinitude confined; 
Till at his second bidding Darkness fled, 
Light shone, and order from disorder sprung. 
Swift to their several quarters hasted then 
The cumbrous elements earth, flood, air, fire; 


And this ethereal quintessence of Heaven 

Flew upward, spirited with various forms, 

That rolled orbicular, and turned to stars 

Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move; 

Each had his place appointed, each his course; 720 

The rest in circuit walls this Universe. 

Look downward on that globe, whose hither side 

With light from hence, though but reflected, shines : 

That place is Earth, the seat of Man; that light 

His day, which else, as the other hemisphere, 

Night would invade; but there the neighbouring moon 

(So call that opposite fair star) her aid 

Timely interposes, and, her monthly round 

Still ending, still renewing, through mid Heaven, 

With borrowed light her countenance triform 730 

Hence fills and empties, to enlighten the Earth, 

And in her pale dominion checks the night. 

That spot to which I point is Paradise, 

Adam's abode; those lofty shades his bower. 

Thy way thou canst not miss; me mine requires." 

Thus said, he turned; and Satan, bowing low, 
As to superior Spirits is wont in Heaven, 
Where honour due and reverence none neglects, 
Took leave, and toward the coast of Earth beneath, 
Down from the ecliptic, sped with hoped success, 740 
Throws his steep flight in many an aery wheel, 
Nor stayed till on Niphates' top he lights. 


P. L. 


Satan, now in prospect of Eden, and nigh the place where he must 
now attempt the bold enterprise which he undertook alone against God 
and Man, falls into many doubts with himself, and many passions 
fear, envy, and despair; but at length Confirms himself in evil ; journeys 
on to Paradise, whose outward prospect and situation is described; 
overleaps the bounds; sits, in the shape of a cormorant, on the Tree 
of Life, as highest in the Garden, to look about him. The Garden 
described: Satan's first sight of Adam and Eve; his wonder at their 
pvrfllpnt form and happy state, but with resolutiflnj^ work their fall; 
overhears their discourse ; thence gathers that the Tree of Knowledge 
was forbidden them to eat of under penalty of death, and thereon 
intends to found his temptation &y seducing thenTTcTtransgress ; then 
leaves them a while, to know further of their state by some other 
means. Meanwhile Uriel, descending on a sunbeam, warns Gabriel, 
who had in charge the gate of Paradise, that some evil Spirit had 
escaped the Deep, and passed at noon by his Sphere, in the shape of a 
good Angel, down to Paradise ; discovered after by his furious gestures 
in the mount. Gabriel promises to find him ere morning. Night 
coming on, Adam and Eve discourse of going to their rest : their bower 
described; their evening worship. Gabriel, drawing forth his bands of 
night-watch to walk the rounds of Paradise, appoints two strong Angels 
to Adam's bower, lest the evil Spirit should be there doing some harm 
to Adam or Eve sleeping : there they find him at the ear- of Eve, 
tempting her in a dream, and bring him, though unwilling, to Gabriel; 
by whom questioned, he scornfully answers, prepares resistance, but, 
hindered by a sign from Heaven, flies out of Paradise. 


OFOR that warning voice, which he who saw 
The Apocalypse heard cry in Heaven aloud, 
Then when the Dragon, put to second rout, 
Came furious down to be revenged on men, 
"Woe to the inhabitants on Earth!" that now, 
While time was, our first parents had been warned 
The coming of their secret foe, and scaped, 
Haply so scaped, his mortal snare ! For now 
Satan, now first inflamed with rage, came down, 
The tempter ere the accuser of mankind, 10 

To wreak on innocent frail Man his loss 
Of that first battle, and his flight to Hell : 
Yet not rejoicing in his speed, though bold 
Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast, 
Begins his dire attempt; which, nigh the birth 
Now rolling, boils in his tumultuous breast, 
And like a devilish engine back recoils 
Upon himself. Horror and doubt distract 
His troubled thoughts, and from" the bottom stir 
The hell within him; for within him Hell 20 

He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell 
One step, no more than from himself, can fly 


i re/ #wy 


By change of place. Now conscience_ wakes despair 
That slumbered; wakes the bitter memory 
Of what he was, what is, and what must be 
Worse : of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue ! 
Sometimes towards Eden, which now in his view 
Lay pleasant, his grieved look he fixes sad; 
Sometimes towards Heaven and the full-blazing sun, 
Which now sat high in his meridian tower : 30 

Then, much revolving, thus in sighs began : 

"O thou that, with surpassing glory crowned, 
Look'st from thy sole dominion like the god 
Of this new World ; at whose sight all the stars 
Hide their diminished heads; ,to thee I call, 

\ But with no friendly voice, ^aj^i add thy name, 
sZ-^ O Sun, to tell thee how I {hate) thy beams^ 

That bring to my remembrance from what state 

j I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere, c% 
Till pride and worse ambition threw me down, 40 

Warringjn Heaven against Heaven'sjnatchless King ! 
Ah, wherefore ? He~deserved no such return 

/ From me, whom he created what I was 
In that bright eminence, and with his good 
Upbraided none; nor was his service hard. 
What could be less than to afford him praise, 

! \ The easiest recompense, and pay him thanks, 

; How due ? Yet all his good proved ill in me, 
And wrought but malice. ^Lifted up so high, 
I sdeined subjection, and thought one step higher 50 
Would set me highest, and in a moment quit 
The debt immense of endless gratitude, 
So burdensome, still paying, still to owe; 
Forgetful what from him I still received; 
And understood not that a grateful mind 

BOOK IV. 101 

By owing owes not, but still pays, at once 

Indebted and discharged what burden then? 

Oh, had his powerful destiny ordained 

Me some inferior Angel, I had stood 

Then happy; no unbounded hope had raised 60 

Ambition. Yet why not? some other power 

As great might have aspired, and me, though mean, 

Drawn to his part. But other powers as great 

Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within 

Or from without, to all temptations armed. 

Ha^isJ_JhojyLlke_^ stand ? 

Thou hadst. Whom hast thou then, or what, to accuse, 

But Heaven's freej lovejdealt equajly^jo all?__ 

Be then his love accursed, since, love or hate, 

To me alike it deals eternal woe. 70 

Nay, cursed be thou; since against his thy will 

Chose freely what it now so justly rues. 

Me miserable ! which way shall I fly 

Infinite wrath ajid infinite despair? 

Whichway I^7^s~lTelTpmyW-am Hell; ^ 

And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep 

Still threatening to devour me opens wide, - 

To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven. 

O, then, at last relent ! Is there no place 

Left for repentance, none for pardon left? - i 80 

None left but by submission; and that word 

Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame 

Among the Spirits beneath, whom I seduced 

With other promises and other vaunts 

Than to submit, boasting I could subdue 

The Omnipotent. Ay me ! they little know 

How dearly I abide that boast so vain, 

Under what torments inwardly I groan. 


While they adore me on the throne of Hell, 

With diadem and sceptre high advanced, 90 

The^ lower stilLJ-feiy only supreme 

In^misery : such joy ambition "finds ! 

But say I could repent, and could obtain 

By act of grace my former state ; how soon 

Would highth recal high thoughts, how soon unsay 

What feigned, submission swore ! Ease would recant 

Vows made in pain, as violent and void 

IFor never can true reconcilement grow 
Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep 

Which would but lead me to a worse relapse 100 

And heavier fall : so should I purchase dear 
j Short intermission, bought with double smart. 
I This knows my Punisher; therefore as far 
| From granting he, as I from begging, peace. 

All hope excludedr-thusr -behold, instead 

Of us, outcast, exiled, his new delight, 

Mankind created, and for himthis World! 

So farewell hope, and with hope farewell fear, 

FarJwenjimoTse j All good to me is lost ; 

Evil L be thou my goodT by thee at least no 

Divided ^empire with^Hgaveifs King I hold, 

By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign ; 
I As Man ere long and this new World shall know." * 
Thus while he spake, each passion dimmed his face, 

Thrice changed with pale ire, envy, and despair; 

Which marred his borrowed visage, and betrayed 

Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld; 

For Heavenly minds from such distempers foul 

Are ever clear. Whereof he soon aware 

Each perturbation smoothed with outward calm, 120 

Artificer of fraud; and was the first 


That practised falsehood under saintly show, 

Deep malice to conceal, couched with revenge: 

Yet not enough had practised to deceive 

Uriel, once warned; whose eye pursued him down 

The way he went, and on the Assyrian mount 

SaAaLMnX-disfigured, rnj^rje..than^cmiTcT^r5eTair " 

Spirit of happy sort: his gestures fierce 

Hejnarked and. mad demeanour, then, alone, 

As he supposed, all unobserved, unseen. 130 

So on he fares, and to the border comes 
Of Eden, where delicious Paradise, * 

Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green, 
As with a rural mound, the champain head 
Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides 
With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild, 
Access denied; and overhead up-grew 
Insuperable highth of loftiest shade, 
Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm, 
A sylvan scene, and, as the ranks ascend 140 

Shade above shade, a woody theatre 
Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops 
The verdurous wall of Paradise up-sprung; 
Which to our general sire gave prospect large 
Into his nether empire neighbouring round. 
And higher than that wall a circling row 
Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit, 
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue, 
Appeared, with gay enamelled colours mixed ; 
On which the sun more glad impressed his beams 150 
Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow, 
When God hath showered the earth : so lovely seemed 
That landskip. And of pure now purer air 
Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires 


Vernal delight and joy, able to drive 
All sadness but despair; now gentle gales, 
Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense 
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole 
Those balmy spoils. As when to them who sail 
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past 160 

Mozarnbic, off at sea north-east winds blow 
SibaearTodours from the spicy shore 
Of 4raby the Blest: with such delay 
Well pleased they slack their course, and many a league 
Cheered with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles: 
So entertained those odorous sweets the Fiend 
Who came their bane, though with them better pleased 
Than Asmode'us with the fishy fume 
That drove^Kim, though enamoured, from the spouse 
Of Tobias, son, and with a vengeance sent 170 

From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound. 
Now to the ascent of that steep savage hill 
Satan had journeyed on, pensive and slow; 
But further way found none; so thick entwined, 
As one continued brake, the undergrowth 
Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplexed 
All path of man or beast that passed that way. 
One gate there only was, and that looked east 
On the other side : which when the Arch-Felon saw, 
Due entrance he disdained, and in contempt 180 

At one slight bound high overleaped all bound 
Of hill or highest wall, and sheer within 
.Lights on his feet. As when a prowling wolf, 
I Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey, 
i Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve, 
jln hurdled cotes amid the field secure, 
^Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold; 

BOOK IV. 105 

lOr as a thief, bent to unhoard the cash 
Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors, 
Cross-barred and bolted fast, fear no assault, 190 

In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles : 
So clomb this first grand thief into God's fold : 
So since into his Church lewd hirelings climb. 
Thence up he flew, and on the Tree of Life, 
The middle tree and highest there that grew, 
Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life 
Thereby regained, but sat devising death 
To them who lived ; nor on the virtue thought 
Of that life-giving plant, but only used 
For prospect what, well used, had been the pledge 200 
Of immortality. So little knows 
Any but God alone to value right 
The good before him, but perverts best things 
To worst abuse, or to their meanest use. 

Beneath him, with new wonder, now he views, 
To all delight of human sense exposed, 
In narrow room Nature's whole wealth; yea, more 
A Heaven on Earth; for blissful Paradise ** 
Of God the garden was, by him in the east 
Of Eden planted : Eden stretched her line 210 

From Auran eastward to the royal towers 
Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings, 
Or wfiere^the sons of Eden long before 
Dwelt in Telassar. In this pleasant soil 
His far more pleasant garden God ordained. 
Out of the fertile ground he caused to grow 
AH trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste; 
And all amid them stood the Tree of Life, 
High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit 
Of vegetable gold; and next to life, 220 


Our death, the Tree of Knowledge, grew fast by 
Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill. 
Southward through Eden went a river large, 
Nor changed his course, but through the shaggy hill 
Passed underneath ingulfed; for God had thrown 
That mountain as his garden-mould, high raised 
Upon the rapid current, which, through veins 
Of porous earth with kindly thirst up-drawn, 
Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill 
Watered the garden ; thence united fell 230 

Down the steep glade, and met the nether flood, 
Which from his darksome passage now appears; 
And now, divided into four main streams, 
Runs diverse, wandering many a famous realm 
And country, whereof here needs no account; 
But rather to tell how, if art could tell, 
How from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks, 
Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold, 
With mazy error under pendent shades 
Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed 240 

Flowers worthy of Paradise; which not nice art 
In beds and curious knots, but Nature boon 
Poured forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain, 
Both where the morning sun first warmly smote 
vl The open field, and where the unpierced shade ^ 
Imbrowned the noontide bowersj) Thus was this place, 
A happy rural seat of various view : 
Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm; 
Others whose fruit, burnished with golden rind, 
Hung amiable Hesperian fables true, 250 

If true, here only and of delicious taste. 
Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks 
Grazing the tender herb, were interposed, 


Or palmy hillock; or the flowery lap 

Of some irriguous valley spread her store, 

Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose. 

Another side, umbrageous grots and caves 

Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine 

Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps 

Luxuriant; meanwhile murmuring waters fall 260 

Down the slope hills dispersed, or in a lake, 

That to the fringed bank with myrtle crowned 

Her crystal mirror holds, unite their streams. 

The birds their quire apply ; airs, vernal airs, 

Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune 

The trembling leaves, while universal Pan, 

Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance, 

Led on the eternal Spring. Not that fair field 

Of Enna, where Proserpin gathering flowers, 

Herself a fairer flower, by gloomy Dis 

Was gathered which cost Ceres all that pain 

To seek her through the world, nor that sweet grove 

Of Daphne by Orontes, and the inspired 

Castalian spring, might with this Paradise 

Of Eden strive; nor that Nyseian isle, 

Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham, 

Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Libyan Jove, 

Hid Amalthea, and her florid son, 

Young Bacchus, from his stepdame Rhea's eye; 

Nor where Abassin kings their issue guard, 280 

Mount Amara, though this by some supposed 

True Paradise, under the Ethiop line 

By Nilus' head, enclosed with shining rock, 

A whole day's journey high, but wide remote 

From this Assyrian garden, where the Fiend 

Saw undelighted all delight, all kind 


Of living creatures, new to sight and strange. 

Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall, 
God-like erect, with native honour clad, 
In naked majesty seemed lords of all, 290 

And worthy seemed ; for in their looks divine 
The image of their glorious Maker shone, 
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure 
Severe, but in true filial freedom placed, 
Whence true authority in men; though both 
i Not equal, as their sex not equal seemed : 
For contemplation he and valour formed, 
For softness she and sweet attractive grace; 

for God only, she for God in him. ^ 
His fair large front and eye sublime declared 300 

Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks 
Round from his parted forelock manly hung 
Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad: 
She, as a veil down to the slender waist, 
Her unadorned golden tresses wore 
Dishevelled, but in wanton ringlets waved, 
As the vine curls her tendrils vhich implied 
Subjection, but required with gentle sway, 
And by her yielded, by him best received, 
Yielded with coy submission, modest pride, . 310 

And sweet, reluctant, amorous delay. 
Nor those mysterious parts were then concealed; 
Then was not guilty shame. Dishonest shame 
Of Nature's works, honour dishonourable, 
Sin-bred, how have ye troubled all mankind 
With shows instead, mere shows of seeming pure, 
And banished from man's life his happiest life, 
Simplicity and spotless innocence ! 
So passed they naked on, nor shunned the sight 

BOOK IV. 109 

Of God or Angel, for they thought no ill; 320 

So hand in hand they passed, the loveliest pair 

That ever since in love's embraces met : 

Adam the goodliest man of men since born 

His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve. 

Under a tuft of shade that on a green 

Stood whispering soft, by a fresh fountain-side, 

They sat them down ; and after no more toil 

Of their sweet gardening labour than sufficed 

To recommend cool Zephyr, and make ease 

More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite 330 

More grateful, to their supper-fruits they fell, 

Nectarine fruits, which the compliant boughs 

Yielded them, sidelong as they sat recline 

On the soft downy bank damasked with flowers. 

The savoury pulp they chew, and in the rind, 

Still as they thirsted, scoop the brimming stream; 

Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles 

Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems 

Fair couple linked in .happy nuptial league, 

Alone as they. About them frisking played 340 

All beasts of the earth, since wild, and of all chase 

In wood or wilderness, forest or den. 

Sporting the lion ramped, and in his paw 

Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards, 

Gambolled before them; the unwieldy elephant, 

To make them mirth, used all his might, and wreathed 

His lithe proboscis ; close the serpent sly, 

Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine 

His braided train, and of his fatal guile 

Gave proof unheeded. Others on the grass 350 

Couched, and now filled with pasture gazing sat, 

Or bed ward ruminating; for the sun, 


Declined, was hastening now with prone career 
To the Ocean Isles, and in the ascending scale 
Of Heaven the stars that usher evening rose: 
When Satan, still in gaze as first he stood, 
Scarce thus at length failed speech recovered sad : 

" O Hell ! what do mine eyes with grief behold ? 
Into our room of bliss thus high advanced 
Creatures of other mould, Earth-born perhaps, 360 

Not Spirits, yet to Heavenly Spirits bright 
Little inferior; whom my thoughts pursue 
With wonder, and could love, so lively shines 
In them divine resemblance, and such grace 
The hand that formed them on their shape hath poured. 
Ah \ gentle pair, ye little think how nigh 
Your change approaches, when all these delights 
Will vanish, and deliver ye to woe 
More woe, the more your taste is now of joy : 
Happy, but for so happy ill secured 370 

Long to continue, and this high seat, your Heaven, 
111 fenced for Heaven to keep out such a foe 
As now is entered; yet no purposed foe 
To you, whom I could pity thus forlorn, 
Though I unpitied. League with you I seek, 
And mutual amity, so strait, so close, 
That I with you must dwell, or you with me, 
Henceforth: my dwelling, haply, may not please, 
Like this fair Paradise, your sense ; yet such 
Accept your Maker's work; he gave it me, 380 

Which I as freely give. Hell shall unfold, 
To entertain you two, her widest gates, 
And send forth all her kings; there will be room, 
Not like these narrow limits, to receive 
Your numerous offspring; if no better place, 


Thank him who puts me loath to this revenge 

On you who wrong me not, for him who wronged. 

And, should I at your harmless innocence 

Melt, as I do, yet public reason just 

Honour and empire with revenge enlarged 390 

By conquering this new World compels me now 

To do what else, though damned, I should abhor." 

So spake the Fiend, and with necessity, 
The tyrant's plea, excused his devilish deeds. 
Then from his lofty stand on that high tree 
Down he alights among the sportful herd 
Of those four-footed kinds, himself now one, 
Now other, as their shape served best his end 
Nearer to view his prey, and unespied 
To mark what of their state he more might learn 400 
By word or action marked. About them round 
A lion now he stalks with fiery glare; 
Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spied 
In some purlieu two gentle fawns at play, 
Straight couches . close ; then, rising, changes oft 
His couchant watch, as one who chose his ground, 
Whence rushing he might surest seize them both, 
Griped in each paw : when Adam, first of men, 
To first of women, Eve, thus moving speech, 
Turned him all ear to hear new utterance flow: 410 

"Sole partner and sole part of all these joys, 
^Dearer thyself than all, needs must the Power 
That made us, and for us this ample World, 
Be infinitely good, and of his good 
As liberal and free as infinite; 
' That raised us from the dust, and placed us here 
^n all this happiness, who at his hand 
Have nothing merited, nor can perform 


Aught whereof he hath need; he who requires 

From us no other service than to keep 420 

This one, this easy charge of all the trees 

In Paradise that bear delicious fruit 

So various, not to taste that only Tree 

Of Knowledge, planted by the Tree of Life; 

So near grows death to life, whate'er death is ; 
^ Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou know'st 

God hath pronounced it death to taste that Tree 

The only sign of our obedience left 

Among so many signs of power and rule 

Conferred upon us, and dominion given 430 

Over all other creatures that possess 

Earth, air, and sea. Then let us not think hard 

One easy prohibition, who enjoy 

Free leave so large to all things else, and choice 

Unlimited of manifold delights; 

But let us ever praise him, and extol 

His bounty, following our delightful task, 

To prune these growing plants, and tend these flowers ; 

Which, were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet." 
f To whom thus Eve replied: "O thou for whom 440 

And from whom I was formed, flesh of thy flesh, 

And without whom am to no end, my guide 

And head ! what thou hast said is just and right. 

For we to him indeed all praises owe, 

And daily thanks; I chiefly, who enjoy 

So far the happier lot, enjoying thee 

Pre-eminent by so much odds, while thou 

Like consort to thyself canst nowhere find. 

That day I oft remember, when from sleep 

I first awaked, and found myself reposed 450 

Under a shade on flowers, much wondering where 

BOOK IV. 113 

And what I was, whence thither brought, and how. 
Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound 
Of waters issued from a cave, and spread 
Into a liquid plain ; then stood unmoved, 
Pure as the expanse of Heaven. I thither went 
With unexperienced thought, and laid me down 
On the green bank, to look into the clear 
r Smooth lake, that to me seemed another sky. 
, As I bent down to look, just opposite 460 

\A shape within the watery gleam appeared, 
Bending to look on me : I started back, 
It started back; but pleased I soon returned, 
Pleased it returned as soon with answering looks 
Of sympathy and love. There I had fixed 
Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire, 
Had not a voice thus warned me : ' What thou seest, 
What there thou seest, fair creature, is thyself; 
With thee it came and goes : but follow me, 
And I will bring thee where no shadow stays 470 

Thy coming, and thy soft embraces he 
Whose image thou art; him thou shalt enjoy 
Inseparably thine; to him shalt bear 
Multitudes like thyself, and thence be called 
Mother of human race.' What could I do 
But follow straight, invisibly thus led? 
Till I espied thee, fair indeed and tall, 
Under a platane; yet methought less fair, 
Less winning soft, less amiably mild, 
Than that smooth watery image. Back I turned; 480 
Thou, following, cried'st aloud, 'Return, fair Eve; 
Whom fliest thou? whom thou fliest, of him thou art, 
His flesh, his bone; to give thee being I lent 
Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart, 

p. L. 8 


Substantial life, to have thee by my side 

Henceforth an individual solace dear : 

Part of my soul, I seek thee, and thee claim 

My other half.' With that thy gentle hand 

Seized mine: I yielded; and from that time see 

How beauty is excelled by manly grace 490 

And wisdom, which alone is truly fair." 

So spake our general mother, and with eyes 
Of conjugal attraction unreproved, 
And meek surrender, half-embracing leaned 
On our first father; half her swelling breast 
Naked met his, under the flowing gold 
Of her loose tresses hid. He, in delight 
Both of her beauty and submissive charms, 

miled with superior love, as Jupiter 
On Juno smiles when he impregns the clouds 500 

That shed May flowers, and pressed her matron lip 

ith kisses pure. Aside the Devil turned 
For envy; yet with jealous leer malign 
Eyed them askance, and to himself thirs plained : 
, " Sight hateful, sight tormenting ! thus these two, 
\Imparadised in one another's arms, 
The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fill 
iDf bliss on bliss ; while I to Hell am thrust, 
Where neither joy nor love, but fierce desire, 
Among our other torments not the least, 510 

Still unfulfilled, with pain of longing pines. 
Yet let me not forget what I have gained 
From their own mouths. All is not theirs, it seems; 
One fatal tree there stands, of Knowledge called, 
Forbidden them to taste. Knowledge forbidden? 
Suspicious, reasonless ! why should their Lord 
Envy them that? can it be sin to know? 

BOOK IV. 115 

Can it be death? and do they only stand 
By ignorance? is that their happy state, 
The proof of their obedience and their faith? 520 

O fair foundation laid whereon to build 
Their ruin ! Hence I will excite their minds 
With more desire to know, and to reject 
Envious commands, invented with design 
To keep them low, whom knowledge might exalt 
Equal with gods. Aspiring to be such, 
Xhey taste and fle i what like.lip.r. can ensue? :&-ei^H 
But first with narrow search I must walk round 
This garden, and no corner leave unspied; 
A chance but chance may lead where I may meet 530 
Some wandering Spirit of Heaven, by fountain-side, 
Or in thick shade retired, from him to draw 
What further would be learned. Live while ye may, 
Yet happy pair; enjoy, till I return, 
Short pleasures; for long woes are to succeed." 
So saying, his proud step he scornful turned, 
But with sly circumspection, and began 
Through wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er dale, his roam. 
Meanwhile in utmost longitude, where Heaven 
With Earth and Ocean meets, the setting sun 540 

Slowly descended, and with right aspect 
Against the eastern gate of Paradise 
Levelled his evening rays. It was a rock 
Of alabaster, piled up to the clouds, 
Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent 
Accessible from Earth, one entrance high; 
The rest was craggy cliff, that overhung 
Still as it rose, impossible to climb. 
Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat, 
Chief of the angelic guards, awaiting night; 550 



About him exercised heroic games 

The unarmed youth of Heaven ; but nigh at hand 

Celestial armoury, shields, helms, and spears, 

Hung high, with diamond flaming and with gold. 

Thither came Uriel, gliding through the even 

On a sunbeam, swift as a shooting star 

In autumn thwarts the night, when vapours fired 

Impress the air, and shows the mariner 

From what point of his compass to beware 

Impetuous winds. He thus began in haste: 560 

"Gabriel, to thee thy course by lot hath given 
Charge and strict watch, that to this happy place 
No evil thing approach or enter in. 
This day at highth of noon came to my sphere 
A Spirit, zealous, as he seemed, to know 
More of the Almighty's works, and chiefly Man, 
God's latest image. I described his way 
Bent all on speed, and marked his aery gait; 
, But in the mount that lies from Eden north, 
Where he first lighted, soon discerned his looks 570 

Alien from Heaven, with passions foul obscured. 
,Mine eye pursued him still, but under shade 
Lost sight of him. One of the banished crew, 
I fear, hath ventured from the Deep, to raise 
New troubles; him thy care must be to find." 
To whom the winged warrior thus returned: 
" Uriel, no wonder if thy perfect sight, 
Amid the Sun's bright circle where thou sitt'st, 
See far and wide. In at this gate none pass 
The vigilance here placed, but such as come 580 

Well-known from Heaven; and since meridian hour 
No creature thence. If Spirit of other sort, 
So minded, have o'erleaped these earthy bounds 

BOOK IV. 117 

On purpose, hard thou know'st it to exclude 

Spiritual substance with corporeal bar. 

But if within the circuit of these walks, 

In whatsoever shape, he lurk of whom 

Thou tell'st, by morrow dawning I shall know." 

So promised he; and Uriel to his charge 
Returned on that bright beam, whose point now raised 590 
Bore him slope downward to the sun, now fallen 
Beneath the Azores ; whether the prime orb, 
Incredible how swift, had thither rolled 
Diurnal, or this less volubil Earth, 
By shorter flight to the east, had left him there, 
Arraying with reflected purple and gold 
The clouds that on his western throne attend. 

Now came still Evening on, and Twilight gray 
Had in her sober livery all things clad ; 
Silence accompanied; for beast and bird, 600 

They to their grassy couch, these to their nests, 
Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale; 
She all night long her amorous descant sung : 
Silence was pleased. Now glowed the firmament 
With living sapphires; Hesperus, that led 
The starry host, rode brightest, till the Moon, 
Rising in clouded majesty, at length 
Apparent queen, unveiled her peerless light, 
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw ; 
When Adam thus to Eve : " Fair consort, the hour 610 
Of night, and all things now retired to rest, 
Mind us of like repose, since God hath set 
Labour and rest, as day and night, to men 
Successive; and the timely dew of sleep, 
Now falling with soft slumberous weight, inclines 
Our eye-lids. Other creatures all day long 


Rove idle, unemployed, and less need rest; 

Man hath his daily work of body or mind 

Appointed, which declares his dignity, 

And the regard of Heaven on all his ways; 620 

While other animals unactive range, 

And of their doings God takes no account. 

To-morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east 

With first approach of light, we must be risen, 

And at our pleasant labour, to reform 

Yon flowery arbours, yonder alleys green, 

Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown, 

That mock our scant manuring, and require 

More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth. 

Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums, 63* 

That lie bestrewn, unsightly and unsmooth, 

Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease; 

Meanwhile, as Nature wills, night bids us rest." 

To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorned : 
f* 1 My author and disposer, what thou bidd'st 
c i Unargued I obey ; so God ordains : 
\God is thy law, thou mine : to know no more 
15s woman's happiest knowledge, and her praise. 
With thee conversing I forget all time, 
All seasons and their change: all please alike. 640 

Sweet is the breath of Morn, her rising sweet, 
With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the Sun, 
When first on this delightful land he spreads 
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower, 
Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile Earth 
After soft showers ; and sweet the coming-on 
Of grateful Evening mild ; then silent Night, 
With this her solemn bird, and this fair Moon, 
And these the gems of Heaven, her starry train: 


But neither breath of Morn, when she ascends 650 

With charm of earliest birds ; nor rising Sun 

On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower, 

Glistering with dew ; nor fragrance after showers ; 

Nor grateful Evening mild; nor silent Night, 

With this her solemn bird; nor walk by moon, 

Or glittering star-light, without thee is sweet. 

But wherefore all night long shine these? for whom 

This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes?" 

To whom our general ancestor replied : 
" Daughter of God and Man, accomplished Eve, 660 

Those have their course to finish round the Earth 
By morrow evening, and from land to land 
In order, though to nations yet unborn, 
Ministering light prepared, they set and rise; 
Lest total Darkness should by night regain 
Her old possession, and extinguish life 
In nature and all things ; which these soft fires 
Not only enlighten, but with kindly heat 
Of various influence foment and warm, 
Temper or nourish, or in part shed down 670 

Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow 
On Earth, made hereby apter to receive 
Perfection from the sun's more potent ray. 
These then, though unbeheld in deep of night, 
Shine not in vain. Nor think, though men were none, 
That Heaven would want spectators, God want praise. 
Millions of spiritual creatures walk the Earth 
Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep : 
All these with ceaseless praise his works behold, 
Both day and night. How often, from the steep 680 
Of echoing hill or thicket, have we heard 
Celestial voices to the midnight air, 


Sole, or responsive each to other's note, 
Singing their great Creator ! Oft in bands 
While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk, 
With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds 
In full harmonic number joined, their songs 
Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to Heaven." 

f Thus talking, hand in hand alone they passed 

[jOn to their blissful bower. It was a place 690 

Chosen by the sovran Planter, when he framed 
All things to Man's delightful use. The roof 
Of thickest covert was inwoven shade, 
Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grew 
Of firm and fragrant leaf; on either side 
Acanthus, and each odorous bushy shrub, 
Fenced up the verdant wall; each beauteous flower, 
Iris all hues, roses, and jessamine, 

Reared high their flourished heads between, and wrought 
Mosaic; under-foot the violet, 700 

Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay 
Broidered the ground, more coloured than with stone 
Of costliest emblem. Other creature here, 
Beast, bird, insect, or worm, durst enter none ; 
Such was their awe of Man. In shadier bower 
More sacred and sequestered, though but feigned, 
Pan or Sylvanus never slept, nor Nyjoph 
t Nor Fauntnr"riaunted. Here, in close recess, 
\ With ^flowers, garlands, and sweet-smelling herbs 

I Espoused Eve decked first her nuptial bed, 710 

\ And Heavenly choirs the hymenaean sung, 

Vwhat day the genial Angel to our sire 
v |B rough t her, in naked beauty more adorned, 

iMore lovely, than Pandora, whom the gods 

(Endowed with all their gifts ; and, O ! too like 

BOOK IV. 121 

In sad event, when, to the unwiser son 
Of Japhet brought by Hermes~she ensnared 
Mankind with her fair looks, to be avenged 
On him who had stole Jove's authentic fire. 

Thus at their shady lodge arrived, both stood, 720 

Both turned, and under open sky adored 
The God that made both sky, air, Earth, and Heaven, 
Which they beheld, the moon's resplendent globe, 
And starry pole : " Thou also madest the night, 

r Maker Omnipotent; and thou the day, 
Which we, in our appointed work employed, 
Have finished, happy in our mutual help 
And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss 
Ordained by thee; and this delicious place, 
For us too large, where thy abundance wants 730 

Partakers, and uncropt falls to the ground. 
But thou hast promised from us two a race 
To fill the Earth, who shall with us extol 
Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake, 
And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep." 

This said unanimous, and other rites 
Observing none but adoration pure, 
Which God likes best, into their inmost bower 
Handed they went; and, eased the putting-off 
These troublesome disguises which we wear, 740 

Straight side by side were laid; nor turned, I ween, 

fAdam from his fair spouse, nor Eve the rites 

i Mysterious of connubial love refused : 
Whatever hypocrites austerely talk 
Of purity, and place, and innocence, 
Defaming as impure what God declares 
Pure, and commands to some, leaves free to all. 
Our Maker bids increase; who bids abstain 


But our destroyer, foe to God and Man? 
T Hail, wedded Love, mysterious law, true source 750 

u Of human offspring, sole propriety 
L In Paradise of all things common else ! 

fBy thee adulterous lust was driven from men 
Among the bestial herds to range ; by thee, 

< Founded in reason, loyal, just, and pure, 
Relations dear, and all the charities 
Of father, son, and brother, first were known. 
Far be it that I should write thee sin or blame, 
Or think thee unbefitting holiest place, 
Perpetual fountain of domestic sweets, 760 

Whose bed is undefiled and chaste pronounced, 
Present or past, as saints and patriarchs used. 

jHere Love his golden shafts employs, here lights 
His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings, 
Reigns here and revels : not in the bought smile 

j Of harlots, loveless, joyless, unendeared, 

\ Casual fruition; nor in court-amours, 
Mixed dance, or wanton mask, or midnight ball, 
n Or serenate, which the starved lover sings 

To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain. 770 

These, lulled by nightingales, embracing slept, 
And on their naked limbs the flowery roof 

[Showered roses, which the mom repaired. Sleep on, 
Blest pair ! and, O i yet happiest, if ye seek 
No happier state, and know to know no more ! 

Now had night measured with her shadowy cone 
Half-way up-hill this vast sublunar vault; 
And from their ivory port the Cherubim 
Forth issuing, at the accustomed hour, stood armed 
To their night-watches in warlike parade; 780 

When Gabriel to his next in power thus spake: 


" ..Uzziel, halfjthese dra^vjjff^and coast the south 
With strictest watch; these other wheel the north: 
Our circuit meets full west." As flame they part, 
Half wheeling to the shield, half to the spear. 
From these, two strong and subtle Spirits he called 
That near him stood, and gave them thus in charge : 

"fchuriel and Zephon, with winged speed 
Search through tins garden ; leave unsearched no nook ; 
But chiefly where those two fair creatures lodge, 790 

Now laid perhaps asleep, secure of harm. 
This evening from the sun's decline arrived 
Who tells of some infernal Spirit seen 
Hitherward bent (who could have thought?), escaped 
The bars of Hell, on errand bad, no doubt: 
Such, where ye find, seize fast, and hither bring." 

So saying, on he led his radiant files, 
Dazzling the moon ; these to the bower direct 
In search of whom they sought. Him there they found 
Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve, 800 

Assaying by his devilish art to reach 
The organs of her fancy, and with them forge 
Illusions as he list, phantasms and dreams; 
Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint 
The animal spirits, that from pure blood arise 
Like gentle breaths from rivers pure, thence raise 
_ At least distempered, discontented thoughts, J\ 

Vain hopes, vain aims, inordinate desires, 
' Blown up with high conceits engendering pridej) 

Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spear 810 

Touched lightly; for no falsehood can endure 

Touch of celestial temper, but returns 

Of force to its own likeness : up he starts, 

Discovered and surprised. As when a spark 


Lights on a heap of nitrous powder, laid 

Fit for the tun, some magazine to store 

Against a rumoured war, the smutty grain, 

With sudden blaze diffused, inflames the air: 

So started up in his own shape the Fiend. 

Back stept those two fair Angels, half amazed 820 

So sudden to behold the grisly King; 

Yet thus, unmoved with fear, accost him soon : 

"Which of those rebel Spirits adjudged to Hell 
Com'st thou, escaped thy prison? and, transformed, 
Why sat'st thou like an enemy in wait, 
Here watching at the head of these that sleep?" 

"Know ye not, then," said Satan, filled with scorn, 
"Know ye not me? Ye knew me once no mate 
For you, there sitting where ye durst not soar ! 
Not to know me argues yourselves unknown, 830 

The lowest of your throng ; or if ye know, 
Why ask ye, and superfluous begin 
Your message, like to end as much in vain?" 

To whom thus Zephon, answering scorn with scorn : 
"Think not, revolted Spirit, thy shape the same, 
Or undiminished brightness, to be known 
As when thou stood'st in Heaven upright and pure. 
That glory then, when thou no more wast good, 
Departed from thee; and thou resemblest now 
Thy sin and place of doom obscure and foul. 840 

But come; for thou, be sure, shalt give account 
To him who sent us, whose charge is to keep 
This place inviolable, and these from harm." 

So spake the Cherub; and his grave rebuke, 
Severe in youthful beauty, added grace 
Invincible. Abashed the Devil stood, 
i And felt how awful goodness is, and saw 

BOOK IV. 125 

Virtue in her shape how lovely; saw, and pined 

His loss; but chiefly to find here observed 

His lustre visibly impaired; yet seemed 50 

Undaunted. " If I must contend, 5 ' said he, 

"Best with the best the sender, not the sent; 

Or all at once : more glory will be won, 

Or less be lost." "Thy fear," said Zephon bold, 

"Will save us trial what the least can do 

Single against thee, wicked and thence weak." 

The Fiend replied not, overcome with rage; 
But, like a proud steed reined, went haughty on, 
Champing his iron curb : to strive or fly 
He held it vain; awe from above had quelled 860 

His heart, not else dismayed. Now drew they nigh 
The western point, where those half-rounding guards 
Just met, and closing stood in squadron joined, 
Awaiting next command. To whom their chief, 
Gabriel, from the front thus called aloud : 

"O friends, I hear the tread of nimble feet 
Hasting this way, and now by glimpse discern 
Ithuriel and Zephon through the shade; 
And with them comes a third, of regal port, 
But faded splendour wan, who by his gait 870 

And fierce demeanour seems the Prince of Hell; 
Not likely to part hence without contest. 
Stand firm, for in his look, defiance lours." 

He scarce had ended, when those two approached, 
And brief related whom they brought, where found, 
How busied, in what form and posture couched. 
To whom, with stern regard, thus Gabriel spake : 
"Why hast thou, Satan, broke the bounds prescribed 
To thy transgressions, and disturbed the charge 
Of others, who approve not to transgress 880 


By thy example, but have power and right 
To question thy bold entrance on this place? 
Employed, it seems, to violate sleep, and those 
Whose dwelling God hath planted here in bliss." 

To whom thus Satan, with contemptuous brow : 
"Gabriel, thou hadst in Heaven the esteem of wise, 
And such I held thee; but this question asked 
Puts me in doubt. Lives there who loves his pain? 
Who would not, finding way, break loose from Hell, 
Though thither doomed? Thou wouldst thyself, no doubt, 890 
And boldly venture to whatever place 
Farthest from pain, where thou mightst hope to change 
Torment with ease, and soonest recompense 
Dole with delight ; which in this place I sought : 
To thee no reason, who know'st only good, 
But evil hast not tried. And wilt object 
His will who bound us? let him surer bar 
His iron gates, if he intends our stay 
In that dark durance. Thus much what was asked : 
The rest is true, they found me where they say; 900 
But that implies not violence or harm." 

Thus he in scorn. The warlike Angel moved, 
Disdainfully half smiling, thus replied : 
"O loss of one in Heaven to judge of wise, 
Since Satan fell, whom folly overthrew, 
And now returns him from his prison scaped, 
Gravely in doubt whether to hold them wise 
Or not who ask what boldness brought him hither 
Unlicensed from his bounds in Hell prescribed ! 
So wise he judges it to fly from pain 910 

However, and to scape his punishment ! 
So judge thou still, presumptuous, till the wrath, 
Which thou incurr'st by flying, meet thy flight 

BOOK IV. 127 

Sevenfold, and scourge that wisdom back to Hell, 

Which taught thee yet no better, that no pain 

Can equal anger infinite provoked. 

But wherefore thou alone? wherefore with thee 

Came not all Hell broke loose? is pain to them 

Less pain, less to be fled? or thou than they 

Less hardy to endure? Courageous chief, 920 

The first in flight from pain, hadst thou alleged 

To thy deserted host this cause of flight, 

Thou surely hadst not come sole fugitive." 

To which the Fiend thus answered, frowning stern: 
"Not that I less endure, or shrink from pain, 
Insulting Angel ! well thou know'st I stood 
Thy fiercest, when in battle to thy aid 
The blasting vollied thunder made all speed, 
And seconded thy else not dreaded spear. 
But still thy words at random, as before, 930 

Argue thy inexperience what behoves, 
From hard assays and ill successes past, 
A faithful leader; not to hazard all 
Through ways of danger by himself untried. 
I therefore, I alone, first undertook 
To wing the desolate Abyss, and spy 
This new-created World, whereof in Hell 
Fame is not silent; here in hope to find 
Better abode, and my afflicted powers 
To settle here on Earth, or in mid air; 940 

Though for possession put to try once more 
What thou and thy gay legions dare against; 
Whose easier business were to serve their Lord 
High up in Heaven, with songs to hymn his throne, 
And practised distances to cringe, not fight." 


To whom the warrior Angel soon replied: 
"To say and straight unsay, pretending first 
Wise to fly pain, professing next the spy, 
Argues no leader, but a liar traced, 

Satan; and couldst thou 'faithful' add? O name, 950 
O sacred name of faithfulness profaned ! 

Faithful fn whnm?^. ri, y m^nlHmm ^r fw j> 

Army of fiends, fit body to fit head, 

Was this your discipline and faith engaged, 

Your military obedience, to dissolve 

Allegiance to the acknowledged Power Supreme? 

And thou, sly hypocrite, who now wouldst seem 

Patron of liberty, who more than thou 

Once fawned, and cringed, and servilely adored 

Heaven's awful Monarch? wherefore, but in hope 960 

To dispossess him, and thyself to reign? 

But mark what I areed thee now : Avaunt ! 

Fly thither whence thou fledst. If from this hour 

Within these hallowed limits thou appear, 

Back to the infernal pit I drag thee chained, 

And seal thee so as henceforth not to scorn 

The facile gates of Hell too slightly barred." 

So threatened he; but Satan to no threats 
Gave heed, but waxing more in rage replied : 

"Then, when I am thy captive, talk of chains, 970 
Proud limitary Cherub ! but ere then 
Far heavier load thyself expect to feel 
From my prevailing arm, though Heaven's King 
Ride on thy wings, and thou with thy compeers, 
Used to the yoke, drawest his triumphant wheels 
In progress through the road of Heaven star-paved." 

While thus he spake, the angelic squadron bright 

BOOK IV. 129 

Turned fiery red, sharpening in mooned horns 

Their_ phalanx, and began to hem him round 

With p7>rtecT"s"pears, as thick as when a field 980 

Of Ceres ripe for harvest waving bends 

Her bearded grove of ears which way the wind 

Sways them; the careful ploughman doubting stands 

Lest on the threshing-floor his hopeful sheaves 

Prove chaff. On the other side, Satan, alarmed, 

Collecting all his might, dilated stood, 

Like TenerirT or Atlas, unremoved : 

His stature reached the sky, and grxJiis.. crest 

Sat Horror plumed ; nor wanted in his grasp 

What seemed both spear and shield. Now dreadful deeds 990 

Might have ensued: nor only Paradise, 

In this commotion, but the starry cope 

Of Heaven perhaps, or all the elements 

At least, had gone to wrack, disturbed and torn 

With violence of this conflict, had not soon 

The Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray, 

Hung forth in Heaven his golden scales, yet seen 

Betwixt Astraea and the Scorpion sign, 

Wherein all things created first he weighed, 

The pendulous round Earth with balanced air IOOG 

In counterpoise now ponders all events, 

Battles and realms. In these he put two weights, 

The sequel each of parting and of fight : 

The latter quick up flew, and kicked the beam; 

Which Gabriel spying thus bespake the Fiend : 

" Satan, I know thy strength, and thou know'st mine ; 
1 Neither our own, but given ; what folly then 
I To boast what arms can do ! since thine no more 
'Than Heaven permits, nor mine, though doubled now 

p. L. 


To trample thee as mire. For proof look up, 1010 

And read thy lot in yon celestial sign, 

Where thou art weighed, and shown how light, how weak 

If thou resist." The Fiend looked up, and knew 

His mounted scale aloft : nor more ; but fled 

Murmuring, and with him fled the shades of night. 




Morning approached, Eve relates to Adam her troublesome dream ; 
he likes it not, yet comforts her : they come forth to their day labours : 
their morning hymn at the door of their bower. CGod, to render Man 
inexcusable, sends Raphael to admonish him of his obedience, of his 
free estate, of his enemy near at hand who he is, and why his enemy, 
and whatever else may avail Adam to know v Raphael comes down to 
Paradise ; his appearance described ; his coming discerned by Adam 
afar off, sitting at the door of his bower; he goes out to meet him, 
brings him to his lodge, entertains him with the choicest fruits of 
Paradise got together by Eve ; their discourse at table. Raphael 
performs his message, minds Adam of his state and of his enemy ; 
relates, at Adam's request, who that enemy is, and how he came to be 
so, beginning from his first revolt in Heaven, and the occasion thereof; 
how he drew his legions after him to the parts of the North, and there 
incited them to rebel with him, persuading all but only Abdiel, a Seraph, 
who in argument dissuades and opposes him, then forsakes him. 


NOW Morn, her rosy steps in the eastern clime 
Advancing, sowed the earth with orient pearl, 
When Adam waked, so customed ; for his sleep 
Was aery light, from pure digestion bred, 
And temperate vapours bland, which the only sound 
Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan, 
Lightly dispersed, and the shrill matin song 
Of birds on every bough ; so much the more 
His wonder was to find unwakened Eve 
With tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek, 
j~As through unquiet rest. He, on his side 
\ Leaning half-raised, with looks of cordial love 
Hung over her enamoured, and beheld 
Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep, 
^ LShot forth peculiar graces; then, with voice 
Mild as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes, 
Her hand soft touching, whispered thus : " Awake, 
My fairest, my espoused, my latest found, 
Heaven's last, best gift, my ever-new delight ! 
Awake ! the morning shines, and the fresh field 
Calls us; we lose the prime, to mark how spring 
Our tended plants, how blows the citron grove, 





What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed, 
How Nature paints her colours, how the bee 
Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet." 

Such whispering waked her, but with startled eye 
On Adam, whom embracing, thus she spake : 
[~ "O sole in whom my thoughts find all repose, 
My glory, my perfection ! glad I see 
Thy face, and morn returned; for I this night 30 

(Such night till this I never passed) have dreamed, 
If dreamed, not, as I oft am wont, of thee, 
Works of day past, or morrow's next design, 
But of offence and trouble, which my mind 
Knew never till this irksome night. Methought, 
Close at mine ear one called me forth to walk 
With gentle voice; I thought it thine. It said, 
'Why sleep'st thou, Eve? now is the pleasant time, 
The cool, the silent, save where silence yields 
To the night- warbling bird, that now awake 40 

Tunes sweetest his love-laboured song; now reigns 
Full-orbed the moon, and, with more pleasing light, 
Shadowy sets off the face of things in vain, 
If none regard. Heaven wakes with all his eyes, 
Whom to behold but thee, Nature's desire, 
In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment 
Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze?' 
I rose as at thy call, but found thee not: 
To find thee I directed then my walk ; 
And on, methought, alone I passed through ways 50 

That brought me on a sudden to the Tree """x. 
Of interdicted Knowledge. Fair it seemed, ) 

Much fairer to my fancy than by day; 
And, as I wondering looked, beside it stood 
One shaped and winged like one of those from Heaven 

BOOK V. 135 

3y us oft seen : his dewy locks distilled 
Ambrosia. On that Tree he also gazed; 
And, 'O fair plant,' said he, 'with fruit surcharged, 
Deigns none to ease thy load and taste thy sweet, 

r god, nor man? Is knowledge so despised? 60 

)r envy, or what reserve forbids to taste? 

brbid who will, 'none shall from me withhold 

Conger thy offered good, why else set here?' 
':fhis said, he paused not, but with venturous arm 
tie plucked, he tasted. Me damp horror chilled 
Ae* such bold words vouched with a deed so bold ; 
But he thus, overjoyed : ' O fruit divine, 
Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropped, 
Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit 
For gods, yet able to make gods of men ! 70 

And why not gods of men, since good, the more 
Communicated, more abundant grows, 
The author not impaired, but honoured more? 
Here, happy creature, fair angelic Eve, 
Partake thou also : happy though thou art, 
Happier thou may'st be, worthier canst not be ; 
Taste this, and be henceforth among the gods 
Thyself a goddess ; not to Earth confined, 
But sometimes in the Air, as we; sometimes 
Ascend to Heaven, by merit thine, and see So 

What life the gods live there, and such live 
So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held, 
Even to my mouth of that same fruit held part 
Which he had plucked ; the pleasant savoury smell 
So quickened appetite that I, methought, 
Could not but taste. Forthwith up to the clouds 
With him I flew, and underneath beheld 
The Earth outstretched immense, a prospect wide 


And various : wondering at my flight and change 
To this high exaltation, suddenly 90 

My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down, 
And fell asleep ; but, O, how glad I waked 
To find this but a dream !" Thus Eve her night 
J Related, and thus Adam answered sad: 
V" " Best image of myself, and dearer half, 
^The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep 
" ^Affects me equally; nor can I like 

This uncouth dream, of evil sprung, I fear; 
Yet evil whence ? in thee can harbour none, 


. i/t 
-Created pure. But know that in the soul 100 

Are many lesser faculties, that serve 
Reason as chief; among these Fancy next 
Her office holds ; of all external things, 
Which the five watchful senses represent, 
She forms imaginations, aery shapes, 
Which Reason, joining or disjoining, frames 
All what we affirm or what deny, and call 
Our knowledge or opinion; then retires 
Into her private cell when Nature rests. 
Oft in her absence mimic Fancy wakes no 

To imitate her; but, misjoining shapes, 
Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams, 
111 matching words and deeds long past or late. 
..Some such resemblances, methinks, I find 
* ! Of our last evening's talk in this thy dream, 
^"But with addition strange; yet be not sad: 
Evil into the mind of god or man 
May come and go, so unapproved, and leave 
No spot or blame behind; which gives me hope 
That what in sleep thou didst abhor to dream, 120 

Waking thou never wilt consent to do. 

BOOK V. 137 

Be not disheartened, then, nor cloud those looks, 
That wont to be more cheerful and serene 
Than when fair Morning first smiles on the world ; 
And let us to our fresh employments rise 
Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers, 
That open now their choicest bosomed smells, 
Reserved from night, and kept for thee in store." 
' So cheered he his fair spouse, and she was cheered, 
But silently a gentle tear let fall 130 

From either eye, and wiped them with her hair; 
Two other precious drops that ready stood, 
Each in their crystal sluice, he, ere they fell, 
) Kissed as the gracious signs of sweet remorse 
i And pious awe, that feared to have offended. 

So all was cleared, and to the field they haste. 
But first, from under shady arborous roof 
Soon as they forth were come to open sight 
Of day-spring, and the sun who, scarce uprisen, 
With wheels yet hovering o'er the ocean-brim, 140 

Shot parallel to the Earth his dewy ray, 
Discovering in wide landskip all the east 
-> <: > Of Paradise and Eden's happy plains 
Lowly they bowed adoring, and began 
Their orisons, each morning duly paid 
In various style; for neither various style 
Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise 
Their Maker, in fit strains pronounced, or sung 
Unmeditated ; such prompt eloquence 
Flowed from their lips, in prose or numerous verse, 150 
More tuneable than needed lute or harp 
To add more sweetness : and they thus began : 

"These are thy glorious works, Parent of good, 
Almighty! thine this universal frame, 


Thus wondrous fair : thyself how wondrous then ! 
Unspeakable ! who sitt'st above these Heavens 

KTo us invisible, or dimly seen 
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare 
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power oliyiae. 
Sneak, ye who best can tell, ye Sons of 'Cjght, 160 

Angels, for ye behold him, and with v songs 
And ^choral symphonies^ clay without night, v 
Circle his throne rejoicing ye in Heaven; 
On Earthjoin, all ye creatures, to extol 
Him first, hii_ last, him piidst, and without end. 
Fairest_pf(^arsjlast in the train of nightT~T~" 
If better thou belong^iot/To the^-d 
Sure pledge oFclay, th^c crown'sTtKe smiling M< 
With thy brighrliirclSt, praise him in thj 

risjsrthat sweet hour (^fjprime. 170 

^ _ if this great world both eye and soul, 

Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praise 

In thy eternaljcourse, both when thou< 

And wher/tiigri noon) hast gained,^when tboujall'st? 

that now^ meet'st the oi?nt jiun, now fliest, 
the fixed^starsj) fixed in thek.^prb that flies, 
And_ye_jfive other wanderin jf^Fires, that move 
In^ rtiystic danoe ^ot without~5png, resound ^^^ 
is^ praise who out ^Cdarkness) called u^^lightj 

y^ElemQnts^me~eldest birth 180 

Of Nature's woiiiab, that ID quaternion run 
PerpetuaL^rcle/%iultiform, and mix 
And nounsn~all things, let your ceaseless change 
Vary to our great Maker still new praise. 
Ye Mists and Exhalations, that now rise 
From hil,l -orxsteaming lake, dusky or gray, 
Till th^sun rjaint your fleecy skirts 

BOOK V. 139 

In honour to thje world's great Author rise; 

Whether to deck w&h .clouds the uncoloured sky, 

Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers, 190 

Rising or falling still advance his praise. 

His praise, ye Winds, that from four quarters blow, 

Breathe soft or loud; and wave your tops, y 

With every^ pliant, in sign of worship wave. 

OFountains, and ye that warble, as ye flow, 
ftfrelotlTous murmurs, warbling tune his praise. 
Join voices, all ye living Souls ; ye Birds, : 
That singing up to Heaven-gate ascend, 
Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise. 
Ye that c in waters %lide, and ye that walk 200 

The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep, 
Witness if I be silent, morn or even, 
To hill or valley, fountain, or fresh shade,__ 
Macfeyocal by my song, and taught his praise. 
Hail, universal Lord! be bounteous still 
To give us only^goocj); and if the night 
Have gathered aught of evil, or concealed, 
Disperse it, as novMigFit> dispels thej^flark.^ 
V ' ( So prayed they innocent, and to their thoughts 

Firm peace Tecovered soon, and ^wpjitecl^cjiliri^ 210 

On to their morning's rural work they haste, 
Among sweet dews_jind_flQwei:s ; where _any row 
Of fruit-treesjover-woody reacheoVtoo far ^ 

/"Their pampered boughs, and neeoeTt hands to check 

' Fruitless embraces : or they led the vine 

\ To wed her elm ; she, spoused, about him twines 
Her marriageable arms, and with her brings 
Her dower, the adopted clusters, to adorn 

[His barren leaves. Them thus employed beheld 
With pity Heaven's high King, and to him called 220 


I Raphael, the sociable Spirit, that deigned 
K To travel with Tobias, and secured 

{ His marriage with the seven-times-wedded maid. 

"Raphael," said he, "thou hear'st what stir on Earth 
Satan, from Hell scaped through the darksome gulf, 

. Hath raised in Paradise, and how disturbed 
This night the human pair; how he designs 

Y In them at once to ruin all mankind. 
Go, therefore, half this day, as friend with friend, 
Converse with Adam, in what bower or shade 230 

Thou find'st him from the heat of noon retired 
To respite his day-labour with repast 
Or with repose; and such discourse bring on 

IAs may advise him of his happy state 
Happiness in his power left free to will, 
Left to his own free will, his will though free 
Yet mutable; whence warn him to beware 
He swerve not, too secure. Tell him withal 
His danger, and from whom; what enemy, 
Late fallen himself from Heaven, is plotting now 240 
The fall of others from like state of bliss; 
By violence? no, for that shall be withstood; 
But by deceit and lies. This let him know, 
Lest wilfully transgressing he pretend 
Surprisal, unadmonished, unfore warned." 

So spake the Eternal Father, and fulfilled 
All justice; nor delayed the winged Saint 
After his charge received; but from among 
Thousand celestial Ardours, where he stood 
Veiled with his gorgeous wings, upspringing light, 250 
Flew through the midst of Heaven ; the angelic quires, 
On each hand parting, to his speed gave way 
Through all the empyreal road, till, at the gate 


Of Heaven arrived, the gate self-opened wide, 

On golden hinges turning, as by work 

Divine the sovran Architect had framed. 

From hence no cloud or, to obstruct his sight, 

Star interposed, however small he sees, 

Not unconform to other shining globes, 

Earth, and the Garden* of God, with cedars crowned 260 

Above ^11 hills ; as when by. night -the_glass- 

Of Galileo, less assured^" observes 

Imagined lands and regions in the moon; 

Qr_pi,lo from amidst the Cyclades 

Delos or Samos first appearing kens, 

A cloudy spot. Down thither prone in flight 

He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky 

Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wing 

Now on the polar winds ; then with quick fan 

Winnows the buxom air, till, within soar 270 

Of towering eagles, to all the fowls he seems 

A phcenix gazed by all, as that sole bird, 

When, to enshrine his re-liques in the Sun's 

Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies. 

At once on the eastern cliff of Paradise 

He lights, and to his proper shape returns, 

A Seraph winged. Six wings he wore, to shade 

His lineaments divine : the pair that clad 

Each shoulder broad came mantling o'er his breast 

With regal ornament; the middle pair 280 

Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round 

Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold 

And colours dipt in heaven; the third his feet 

Shadowed from either heel with feathered mail, 

Sky-tinctured grain. Like Maia's son he stood, 

And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance filled 


The circuit wide. Straight knew him all the bands 

Of Angels under watch; and to his state 

And to his message high in honour rise ; 

For on some message high they guessed him bound. 290 

Their glittering tents he passed, and now is .come 

Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh, 

And flowering odours, cassia, nard, and balm, 

A wilderness of sweets ; for Nature here 

Wantoned as in her prime, and played at will 

Her virgin fancies, pouring forth more sweet, 

Wild above rule or art, enormous bliss. 

Him, through the spicy forest onward come, 

/Adam discerned, as in the door he sat 

| Of his cool bower, while now the mounted sun 300 

: Shot down direct his fervid rays, to warm 
Earth's inmost womb, more warmth than Adam needs ; 
And Eve within, due at her hour, prepared 

i^or dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please 
True appetite, and not disrelish thirst 
Of nectarous draughts between, from milky stream, 
Berry or grape : to whom thus Adam called : 

"Haste hither, Eve, and, worth thy sight, behold 
Eastward among those trees what glorious shape 
Comes this way moving; seems another morn ^$* 310 
Risen on mid-noon; some great behest from Heaven 

o us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe 
This day to be our guest. But go with speed, 
And what thy stores contain bring forth, and pour 
Abundance, fit to honour and receive 
* I. Our heavenly stranger; well we may afford 
Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow 
From large bestowed, where Nature multiplies 
Her fertile growth, and by disburdening grows 

BOOK V. 143 

More fruitful ; which instructs us not to spare." 320 

To whom thus Eve : " Adam, Earth's hallowed mould, 
Of God inspired, small store will serve where store, 
All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk; 
Save what by frugal storing firmness gains 
To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes. 

' But I will haste, and from each bough and brake, 

Each plant and juiciest gourd, will pluck such choice 
.g. 1 To entertain our Angel-guest, as he 

Beholding shall confess that here on Earth 

' JGod hath dispensed his bounties as in Heaven." 330 

So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste 

f She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent, 
What choice to choose for delicacy best, 

I What order, so contrived as not to mix 
Tastes, not well joined, inelegant, but bring 
Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change : 
Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk 
Whatever Earth, all-bearing mother, yields 

/ In India-East or West, .or middle shore, 

Vln Pgntus^or the ^unic coast, or where 340 

Alcinpus. reigned, fxtUt^CSTkinds, in coat 
.Rough or smooth-rined, or bearded husk, or shell, 
She gathers, tribute large, and on the board 
Heaps with unsparing hand. For drink the grape 
She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths 
From many a berry, and from sweet kernels pressed 
She tempers dulcet creams nor these to hold 
Wants her fit vessels pure; then strews the ground 
With rose and odours from the shrub unfumed. 

Meanwhile our primitive great Sire, to meet 350 

His godlike guest, walks forth, without more train 
Accompanied than with his own complete 


Perfections ; in himself was all his state, 

More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits 

On princes, when their rich retinue long 

Of horses led, and grooms besmeared with gold, 

Dazzles the crowd, and sets them all agape. 

Nearer his presence, Adam, though not awed, 

Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek, 

As to a superior nature, bowing low, 360 

Thus said : " Native of Heaven (for other place 

None can than Heaven such glorious shape contain), 

Since, by descending from the Thrones above, 

Those happy places thou hast deigned a while 

To want, and honour these, vouchsafe with us, 

Two only, who yet by sovran gift possess 

This spacious ground, in yonder shady bower 

To rest, and what the Garden choicest bears 

To sit and taste, till this meridian heat 

Be over, and the sun more cool decline." 370 

Whom thus the angelic Virtue answered mild : 
"Adam, I therefore came; nor art thou such 
Created, or such place hast here to dwell, 
As may not oft invite, though Spirits of Heaven, 
To visit thee; lead on, then, where thy bower 
O'ershades; for these mid-hours, till evening rise, 
I have at will." So tq^the-syrvan lodge 
They came, that like Pomona's arbour smiled, 
With flowerets decked and fragrant smells; but Eve, 
Undecked save with herself, more lovely fair 380 

Than wood-nymph, or the fairest goddess feigned 
Of three that in Mount Ida naked strove, 
Stood to entertain her guest from Heaven ; no veil 
She needed, virtue-proof; no thought infirm 
Altered her cheek. On whom the Angel "Hail!" 

BOOK V. 145 

Bestowed, the holy salutation used 
Long after to blest Mary, second Eve: 
r" " Hail ! Mother of Mankind, whose fruitful womb 

Shall fill the world more numerous with thy sons 
! Than with these various fruits the trees of God 390 

I Have heaped this table ! " Raised of grassy turf 
Their table was, and mossy seats had round, 
And on her ample square from side to side 
All autumn piled, though spring and autumn here 
Danced hand-in-hand. A while discourse they hold 
No fear lest dinner cool when thus began 
Our Author: "Heavenly stranger, please to taste 
These bounties, which our Nourisher, from whom 
All perfect good, unmeasured-out, descends, 
To us for food and for delight hath caused 400 

The Earth to yield : unsavoury food, perhaps, 
To spiritual natures; only this I know, 
'That one celestial Father gives to all." 

To whom the Angel : " Therefore, what he gives 
(Whose praise be ever Sung) to Man, in part 
Spiritual, may of purest Spirits be found 
No ingrateful food : and food alike those pure 
Intelligential substances require 
As doth your rational; and both contain 
Within them every lower faculty 410 

Of sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch, taste, 
Tasting concoct, digest, assimilate, 
And corporeal to incorporeal turn. 
For know, whatever was created needs 
To be sustained and fed; of elements 
The grosser feeds the purer: earth the sea; 
Earth and the sea feed air; the air those fires 
Ethereal, and, as lowest, first the moon; 

P. L. 10 


Whence in her visage round those spots, unpurged 

Vapours not yet into her substance turned. 420 

Nor doth the moon no nourishment exhale 

From her moist continent to higher orbs. 

The sun, that light imparts to all, receives 

From all his alimental recompense 

In humid exhalations, and at even 

Sups with the ocean. Though in Heaven the trees 

Of life ambrosial fruitage bear, and vines 

Yield nectar; though from off the boughs each morn 

We brush mellifluous dews, and find the ground 

Covered with pearly grain; yet God hath here 430 

Varied his bounty so with new delights 

As may compare with Heaven; and to taste 

Think not I shall be nice." So down they sat, 

And to their viands fell; nor seemingly 

The Angel, nor in mist the common gloss 

Of theologians but with keen dispatch 

Of real hunger, and concoctive heat 

To transubstantiate : what redounds transpires 

Through Spirits with ease; nor wonder, if by fire 

Of sooty coal the empiric alchemist 440 

Can turn, or holds it possible to turn, 

Metals of drossiest ore to perfect gold, 

from the mine. Meanwhile at table Eve 

[inistered naked, and their flowing cups 
With pleasant liquors crowned. O innocence 
>eserving Paradise ! If ever, then, 
Then had the Sons of God excuse to have been 
Enamoured at that sight; but in those hearts 
Love unlibidinous reigned, nor jealousy 
Was understood, the injured lover's hell. 450 

Thus when with meats and drinks they had sufficed, 


(Humaijrdened nature, sudden mind arose 

To ^ m not to let the occasion pass, 
Attendhim by this great conference, to know 
That t^gs above his world, and of their being 
That dwell in Heaven, whose excellence he saw 
Tb ans cend his own so far, whose radiant forms 
C'ivine effulgence whose high power, so far 
Exceeded human; and his wary speech 
Thus to the empyreal minister he framed : 460 

"Inhabitant with God, now know I well 
Thy favour, in this honour done to Man, 
Under whose lowly roof thou hast vouchsafed 
To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste, 
Food not of Angels, yet accepted so, 
As that more willingly thou couldst not seem 
At Heaven's high feasts to have fed : yet what compare?" 

To whom the winged Hierarch replied : 
"O Adam, one Almighty is, from whom 
All things proceed, and up to him return, 470 

If not depraved from good, created all 
Such to perfection, one first matter all, 
Endued with various forms, various degrees 
Of substance, and, in things that live, of life; 
But more refined, more spiritous and pure, 
As nearer to him placed or nearer tending, 
Each in their several active spheres assigned, 
Till body up to spirit work, in bounds 
Proportioned to each kind. So from the root 
Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves 480 
More aery, last the bright consummate flower 
Spirits odorous breathes : flowers and their fruit, 
Man's nourishment, by gradual scale sublimed, 
To vital spirits aspire, to animal, 

10 2 


To intellectual; give both life and sense, 

Fancy and understanding; whence the soul 420 

Reason receives, and reason is her being, 

Discursive, or intuitive : discourse 

Is oftest yours, the latter most is ours, 

Differing but in degree, of kind the same. s 

Wonder not, then, what God for you saw good 

If I refuse not, but convert, as you, 

To proper substance. Time may come when men 

With Angels may participate, and find 

No inconvenient diet, nor too light fare; 

And from these corporal nutriments, perhaps, 

Your bodies may at last turn all to spirit, 

Improved by tract of time, and winged ascend 

Ethereal, as we; or may at choice 

Here or in heavenly Paradises dwell, 500 

If ye be found obedient, and retain 

Unalterably firm his love entire, 

Whose progeny you are. Meanwhile enjoy 

Your fill what happiness this happy state 

Can comprehend, incapable of more." 

To whom the Patriarch of Mankind replied : 
"O favourable Spirit, propitious guest, 
Well hast thou taught the way that might direct 
Our knowledge, and the scale of Nature set 
From centre to circumference, whereon, 510 

In contemplation of created things, 
By steps we may ascend to God. But say, 
What meant that caution joined, If ye be found 
r Obedient? Can we want oj^edience, then, 
To him, or possibly his love desert, 
Who formed us from the dust, and placed us here 
Full to the utmost measure of what bliss 


(Human desires can seek or apprehend?" ^F 

To whom the Angel : " Son of Heaven and Earth, 

Attend ! That thou art happy, owe to God ; 520 

That thou continuest such, owe to thyself, 

That is, to thy obedience; therein stand: 

This was that caution given thee; be advised^ 

God made thee perfect, not immutable; 

And good he made thee, but to persevere^! 

He left it in thy power ordained thy wilj 

By nature free, not over-ruled by fate 

Inextricable, or strict necessity. 

Our voluntary service he requires, 

Not our necessitated ; such with him \ 530 

Finds no acceptance, nor can find; for how 

Can hearts not free be tried whether they serve 

Willing or no, who will but what they must 

By destiny, and can no other choose? 

Myself, and all the angelic host, that stand 

In sight of God enthroned, our happy state 

Hold, as you yours, while our obedience hole 
n other surety none : freely we serve, 

Because we freely love, as in our will 

To love or not; in this we stand or fall. 540 

! And some are fallen, to disobedience fallen, 

And so from Heaven to deepest Hell: O fall 
, From what high state of bliss into what woe!" 
To whom our great Progenitor: "Thy words 

Attentive, and with more delighted ear, 

Divine instructor, I have heard, than when 

Cherubic songs by night from neighbouring hills 

Aerial music send; nor knew I not 

To be, both will and deed, created free. 
I Yet that we never shall forget to love 550 



Our Maker, and obey him whose command 

Single is yet so just, my constant thoughts 

Assured me, and still assure; though what thou tell'st 

Hath passed in Heaven some doubt within me move, 

But more desire to hear, if thou consent, 

The full relation, which must needs be strange, 

Worthy of sacred silence to be heard. 

And we have yet large day, for scarce the sun 

Hath finished half his journey, and scarce begins 

His other half in the great zone of heaven." * 560 

Thus Adam made request; and Raphael, 
After short pause assenting, thus began : 

"High matter thou enjoin'st me, O prime of men, 
Sad task and hard; for how shall I relate 
To human sense the invisible exploits 
Of warring Spirits? how, without remorse, 
The ruin of so many, glorious once 
And perfect while they stood? how, last, unfold 
The secrets of another world, perhaps 
Not lawful to reveal? Yet for thy good 570 

This is dispensed, and what surmounts the reach 
Of human sense I shall delineate so, 
By likening spiritual to corporal forms, 
As may express them best though what if Earth 
Be but the shadow of Heaven, and things therein 
Each to other like, more than on Earth is thought! 

"As yet this world was not, and Chaos wild 
Reigned where these Heavens now roll, where Earth now 


Upon her centre poised; when on a day 
(For time, though in eternity, applied 580 

To motion, measures all things durable 
By present, past, and future), on such day 

BOOK V. 151 

As Heaven's great year brings forth, the empyreal host 

Of Angels, by imperial summons called, 

Innumerable before the Almighty's throne 

Forthwith from all the ends of Heaven appeared 

Under their Hierarchs in orders bright : 

Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanced, 

Standards and gonfalons, 'twixt van and rear, 

Stream in the air, and for distinction serve 590 

Of Hierarchies, of orders, and degrees; 

Or in their glittering tissues bear emblazed 

Holy memorials, acts of zeal and love 

Recorded eminent. Thus when in orbs 

Of circuit inexpressible they stood, 

Orb within orb, the Father Infinite, 

By whom in bliss embosomed sat the Son, 

Amidst, as from a flaming mount, whose top 

Brightness had made invisible, thus spake: 

" * Hear, all ye Angels, progeny of light, 600 

Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers, 
Hear my decree, which unrevoked shall stand! 
This day I have begot whom I declare 
My only Son, and on this holy hill 
Him have anointed, whom ye now behold 
At my right hand; your head I him appoint, 
And by myself have sworn, to him shall bow 
All knees in Heaven, and shall confess him Lord. 
Under his great vicegerent reign abide 
United as one individual soul, 610 

For ever happy. Him who disobeys 
Me disobeys, breaks union, and that day, 
Cast out from God and blessed vision, falls 
Into utter darkness deep engulfed, his place 
Ordained without redemption, without end.' 


" So spake the Omnipotent, and with his words 
All seemed well pleased; all seemed, but were not all. 
That day, as other solemn days, they spent 
In song and dance about the sacred hill; 
Mystical dance, which yonder starry sphere 620 

Of planets and of fixed in all her wheels 
Resembles nearest mazes intricate, 
Eccentric, intervolved, yet regular 
Then most when most irregular they seem ; 
And in their motions harmony divine 
So smooths her charming tones that God's own ear 
Listens delighted. Evening now approached 
(For we have also our evening and our morn, 
We ours for change delectable, not need), 
Forthwith from dance to sweet repast they turn 630 

Desirous : all in circles as they stood, 
Tables are set, and on a sudden piled 
With Angels' food, and rubied nectar flows 
In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold, 
Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of Heaven. 
On flowers reposed, and with fresh flowerets crowned, 
They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet 
Quaff immortality and joy, secure 
Of surfeit where full measure only bounds 
Excess, before the all-bounteous King, who showered 640 
With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy. 
Now when ambrosial night, with clouds exhaled 
From that high mount of God whence light and shade 
Spring both, the face of brightest Heaven had changed 
To grateful twilight (for night comes not there 
In darker veil), and roseate dews disposed 
A.11 but the unsleeping eyes of God to rest, 
Wide over all the plain, and wider far 

BOOK V. 153 

Than all this globous Earth in plain outspread 

(Such are the courts of God), the angelic throng, 650 

Dispersed in bands and files, their camp extend 

By living streams among the trees of life 

Pavilions numberless and sudden reared, 

Celestial tabernacles, where they slept 

Fanned with cool winds ; save those who, in their course, 

Melodious hymns about the sovran throne 

Alternate all night long. But not so waked 

Satan so call him now; his former name 

Is heard no more in Heaven. He, of the first, 

If not the first Archangel, great in power, 660 

In favour, and pre-eminence, yet fraught 

With envy against the Son of God, that day 

Honoured by his great Father, and proclaimed 

Messiah, King anointed, could not bear 

Through pride that sight, and thought himself impaired. 

Deep malice thence conceiving and disdain, 

Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour 

Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolved 

With all his legions to dislodge, and leave 

Unworshipped, unobeyed, the throne supreme, 670 

Contemptuous; and, his next subordinate 

Awakening, thus to him in secret spake : 

" ' Sleep'st thou. companion dear ? what sleep can close 
Thy eyelids? and rememberest what decree, 
Of yesterday, so late hath passed the lips 
Of Heaven's Almighty? Thou to me thy thoughts 
Wast wont, I mine to thee was wont, to impart; 
Both waking we were one ; how, then, can now 
Thy sleep dissent? New laws thou seest imposed: 
New laws from him who reigns new minds may raise 680 
In us who serve new counsels, to debate 


What doubtful may ensue : more in this place 

To utter is not safe. Assemble thou 

Of all those myriads which we lead the chief; 

Tell them that by command^ere yet dim night 

Her shadowy cloud withdraws, I am tcTTjaste, 

And all who under me their banners wave, 

Homeward with flying march where we possess 

The quarters of the North, there to prepare 

Fit entertainment to receive our King, 690 

The great Messiah, and his new commands, 

Who speedily through all the Hierarchies 

Intends to pass triumphant, and give laws.' 

"So spake the false Archangel, and infused 
Bad influence into the unwary breast 
Of his associate. He together calls, 
Or several one by one, the regent powers, 
Under him regent; tells, as he was taught, 
That, the Most High commanding, now ere night, 
Now ere dim night had disencumbered Heaven, 700 

The great Hierarchal standard was to move; 
Tells the suggested cause, and casts between 
Ambiguous words and jealousies, to sound 
Or taint integrity. But all obeyed 
The wonted signal, and superior voice 
Of their great Potentate; for great indeed 
His name, and high was his degree in Heaven : 
His countenance, as the morning-star that guides 
The starry flock, allured them, and with lies 
Drew after him the third part of Heaven's host. 710 

Meanwhile, the Eternal eye, whose sight discerns 
Abstrusest thoughts, from forth his holy mount, 
And from within the golden lamps that burn 
Nightly before him, saw without their light 

BOOK V. 155 

Rebellion rising saw in whom, how spread 
Among the Sons of Morn, what multitudes 
Were banded to oppose his high decree; 
And, smiling, to his only Son thus said : 

" ' Son, thou in whom my glory I behold 
In full resplendence, Heir of all my might, 720 

Nearly it now concerns us to be sure 
Of our omnipotence, and with what arms 
We mean to hold what anciently we claim 
Of deity or empire : such a foe 
Is rising, who intends to erect his throne 
Equal to ours, throughout the spacious North; 
Nor so content, hath in his thought to try 
In battle what our power is or our right. 
Let us advise, and to this hazard draw 
With speed what force is left, and all employ 73 

In our defence, lest unawares we lose 
This our high place, our sanctuary, our hill.' 

"To whom the Son, with calm aspect and clear, 
Lightening divine, ineffable, serene, 
Made answer: 'Mighty Father, thou thy foes 
Justly hast in derision, and secure 
Laugh'st at their vain designs and tumults vain, 
Matter to me of glory, whom their hate 
Illustrates, when they see all regal power 
Given me to quell their pride, and in event 740 

Know whether I be dextrous to subdue 
Thy rebels, or be found the worst in Heaven.' 

"So spake the Son; but Satan with his powers f 
Far was advanced on winged speed, an host 
Innumerable as the stars of night, 
Or stars of morning, dew-drops which the sun 
Impearls on every leaf and every flower. 


Regions they passed, the mighty regencies 

Of Seraphim and Potentates and Thrones 

In their triple degrees regions to which 750 

All thy dominion, Adam, is no more 

Than what this Garden is to all the earth 

And all the sea, from one entire globose 

Stretched into longitude; which having passed, 

At length into the limits of the North 

They came, and Satan to his royal seat 

High on a hill, far-blazing, as a mount 

Raised on a mount, with pyramids and towers 

From diamond quarries hewn and rocks of gold, 

The palace of great Lucifer (so call 760 

That structure, in the dialect of men 

Interpreted) which not long after he, 

Affecting all equality with God, 

In imitation of that mount whereon 

Messiah was declared in sight of Heaven, 

The Mountain of the Congregation called; 

For thither he assembled all his train, 

Pretending so commanded to consult 

About the great reception of their King, 

Thither to come ; and with calumnious art 770 

Of counterfeited truth thus held their ears : 

"'Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers, 
If these magnific titles yet remain 
Not merely titular, since by decree 
Another now hath to himself engrossed 
All power, and us eclipsed under the name 
Of King anointed; for whom all this haste 
Of midnight march, and hurried meeting here, 
This only to consult, how we may best, 
With what may be devised of honours new, 780 

BOOK V. 157 

Receive him coming to receive from us 

Knee-tribute yet unpaid, prostration vile ! 

Too much to one ! but double how endured 

To one and to his image now proclaimed? 

But what if better counsels might erect 

Our minds, and teach us to cast off this yoke ! 

Will ye submit your necks, and choose to bend 

The supple knee? Ye will not, if I trust 

To know ye right, or if ye know yourselves 

Natives and Sons of Heaven possessed before 790 

By none, and if not equal all, yet free, 

Equally free; for orders and degrees 

Jar not with liberty, but well consist. 

Who can in reason, then, or right, assume 

Monarchy over such as live by right 

His equals if in power and splendour less, 

In freedom equal? or can introduce 

Law and edict on us, who without law 

Err not? much less for this to be our Lord, 

And look for adoration, to the abuse 800 

Of those imperial titles which assert 

Our being ordained to govern, not to serve !' S 

"Thus far his bold discourse without control 
Had audience, when among the Seraphim 
Abdiel, than whom none with more zeal adored 
The Deity, and divine commands obeyed, 
Stood up, and in a flame of zeal severe 
The current of his fury thus opposed : 

" ' O argument blasphemous, false, and proud ! 
Words which no ear ever to hear in Heaven 810 

Expected, least of all from thee, ingrate, 
In place thyself so high above thy peers ! 
Canst thou with impious obloquy condemn 


The just decree of God, pronounced and sworn, 

That to his only Son, by right endued 

With regal sceptre, every soul in Heaven 

Shall bend the knee, and in that honour due 

Confess him rightful King? Unjust, thou say'st, 

Flatly unjust, to bind with laws the free, 

And equal over equals to let reign, 820 

One over all with unsucceeded power! 

Shalt thou give law to God? shalt thou dispute 

With Him the points of liberty, who made- '' 

Thee what thou art, and formed the powers of Heaven 

Such as he pleased, and circumscribed their being? 

Yet, by experience taught, we know how good, 

And of our good and of our dignity 

How provident he is how far from thought 

To make us less; bent rather to exalt 

Our happy state, under one head more near 830 

United. But to grant it thee unjust 

That equal over equals monarch reign : 

Thyself, though great and glorious, dost thou count, 

Or all angelic nature joined in one, 

Equal to him, begotten Son? by whom, 

As by his Word, the mighty Father made 

All things, even thee, and all the Spirits of Heaven 

By him created in their bright degrees, 

Crowned them with glory, and to their glory named 

Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers, 840 

Essential Powers; nor by his reign obscured, 

But more illustrious made; since he, the head, 

One of our number thus reduced becomes; 

His laws our laws; all honour to him done 

Returns our own. Cease, then, this impious rage, 

And tempt not these; but hasten to appease 



The incensed Father and the incensed Son 
While pardon may be found, in time besought.' l 

"So spake the fervent Angel; but his zeal 
None seconded, as out of season judged, 850 

Or singular and rash; whereat rejoiced 
The Apostate, and more haughty thus replied : 

" ' That we were formed, then, say'st thou ? and the work 
Of secondary hands, by task transferred 
From Father to his Son ? Strange point and new ! 
Doctrine which we would know whence learned ! Who saw 
When this creation was? Remember'st thou 
Thy making, while the Maker gave thee being? 
We know no time when we were not as now; 
Know none before us, self-begot, self-raised 860 

By our own quickening power, when fatal course 
Had circled his full orb, the birth mature 
Of this our native Heaven, Ethereal Sons. 
Our puissance is our own; our own right hand 
Shall teach us highest deeds, by proof to try 
Who is our equal : then thou shalt behold 
Whether by supplication we intend 
Address, and to begirt the Almighty throne 
Beseeching or besieging. This report, 
These tidings, carry to the anointed King; 870 

And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.' 

"He said; and, as the sound of waters deep, 
Hoarse murmur echoed to his words applause 
Through the infinite host; nor less for that 
The flaming Seraph, fearless, though alone, 
Encompassed round with foes, thus answered bold: 

" ' O alienate from God, O Spirit accursed, 
Forsaken of all good ! I see thy fall 
Determined, and thy hapless crew involved 


In this perfidious fraud, contagion spread 880 

Both of thy crime and punishment. Henceforth 
No more be troubled how to quit the yoke 
Of God's Messiah; those indulgent laws 
Will not be now vouchsafed; other decrees 
Against thee are gone forth without recall; 
That golden sceptre which thou didst reject 
Is now an iron rod to bruise and break 
Thy disobedience. Well thou didst advise; 
Yet nor for thy advice or threats I fly 
These wicked tents devoted, lest the wrath 890 

Impendent, raging into sudden flame, 
Distinguish not : for soon expect to feel 
His thunder on thy head, devouring fire. 
Then who created thee lamenting learn, 
When who can uncreate thee thou shalt know.' 
"So spake the Seraph Abdiel, faithful found; 
Among the faithless, faithful only he; 
Among innumerable false, unmoved, 
Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified, 

His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal; 900 

Nor number nor example with him wrought 
To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind, 
Though single. From amidst them forth he passed, 
Long way through hostile scorn, which he sustained 
Superior, nor of violence feared aught; 
And with retorted scorn his back he turned 
On those proud towers, to swift destruction doomed." 


P. L. U 


Raphael continues to relate how Michael and Gabriel were sent 
forth to battle against Satan and his Angels. The first fight described : 
Satan and his Powers retire under night ; he calls a council ; invents 
devilish engines, which, in the second day's fight, put Michael and his 
Angels to some disorder ; but they at length, pulling up mountains, 
overwhelmed both the force and machines of Satan. Yet, the tumult 
not so ending, God, on the third day, sends Messiah his Son, for whom 
he had reserved the glory of that victory. He, in the power of his 
Father, coming to the place, and causing all his legions to stand still on 
either side, with his chariot and thunder driving into the midst of his 
enemies, pursues them, unable to resist, towards the wall of Heaven ; 
which opening, they leap down with horror and confusion into the place 
of punishment prepared for them in the deep. Messiah returns with 
triumph to his Father. 


1, night the dreadless Angel, unpursued, 
Through Heaven's wide champain held his way, 
till Morn, 

Waked by the circling) Hours, with 
Unbarred the gates of light. There is 'a cave 
Within the mount of God7fast by his throne, 
Where light and darkness. .in perpetu^TrQunJ 
Lodge and dislodge by turns, which makes through Heaven 
Grateful vicissitude, like day. and night ; 
Light issues forth, and at the other door 
Obsequious, darkness Centers, till her hour 10 

To veil the Heaven, though_jdarkness there might well 
Seem twilight" here. And now went forth the, "Morn - 
Such as in highest Heaven, arrayed in(goldL^ 
Empyreal; from before her vanished Night, 
Shot through with orient beams ; when all the plain 
Covered with thick embattled squadrons bright, 
Chariots, and flaming arms, and fiery steeds, 
Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view : 
War he perceived, war in procinct, and found 
Already known what he for news had thought 20 

To have reported; gladly then he mixed 

II 2 


Among those friendly powers, who him received 
With joy and acclamations loud, that one, 
That of so many myriads fallen yet one, 
Returned not lost. On to the sacred hill 
They led him high applauded, and present 
Before the seat supreme ; from whence a voice, 
From midst a golden cloud, thus mild was heard : 

" * Servant of God, well done ! Well hast thou fought 
The better fight, who single hast maintained 30 

Against revolted multitudes the cause 
Of truth, in word mightier than they in arms; 
And for the testimony of truth hast borne 
Universal reproach, far worse to bear 
Than violence; for this was all thy care 
To stand approved in sight of God, though worlds 
Judged thee perverse. The easier conquest now 
Remains thee aided by this host of friends, 
Back on thy foes more glorious to return 
Than scorned thou didst depart, and to subdue 40 

By force who reason for their law refuse, 
Right reason for their law, and for their King 
Messiah, who by right of merit reigns. 
Go, Michael, of celestial armies prince, 
And thou, in military prowess next, 
Gabriel; lead forth to battle these my sons 
Invincible; lead forth my armed Saints, 
By thousands and by millions ranged for fight, 
Equal in number to that godless crew 
Rebellious; them with fire and hostile arms 50 

Fearless assault, and, to the brow of Heaven 
Pursuing, drive them out from God and bliss, 
Into their place of punishment, the gulf 
Of Tartarus, which ready opens wide 

BOOK VI. 165 

His fiery chaos to receive their fall.' 

"So spake the Sovran Voice, and clouds began 
To darken all the hill, and smoke to roll 
In dusky wreaths reluctant flames, the sign 
Of wrath awaked; nor with less dread the loud 
Ethereal trumpet from on high gan blow : 60 

At which command the powers militant 
That stood for Heaven, in mighty quadrate joined 
Of union irresistible, moved on 
In silence their bright legions, to the sound 
Of instrumental harmony, that breathed 
Heroic ardour to adventurous deeds 
Under their godlike leaders, in the cause 
Of God and his Messiah. On they move, 
Indissolubly firm ; nor obvious hill, 

Nor straitening vale, nor wood, nor stream, divides 70 
Their perfect ranks; for high above the ground 
Their march was, and the passive air upbore 
Their nimble tread; as when the total kind 
Of birds, in orderly array, on wing 
Came summoned over Eden to receive 
Their names of thee; so over many a tract 
Of Heaven they marched, and many a province wide, 
Tenfold the length of this terrene. At last, 
Far in the horizon to the North, appeared 
From skirt to skirt a fiery region, stretched 80 

In battailous aspect ; and, nearer view, 
Bristled with upright beams innumerable 
Of rigid spears, and helmets thronged, and shields 
Various, with boastful argument portrayed, 
The banded powers of Satan hasting on 
With furious expedition ; for they weened 
That self-same day, by fight or by surprise, 


To win the mount of God, and on his throne 

To set the envier of his state, the proud 

Aspirer; but their thoughts proved fond and vain 90 

In the mid-way. Though strange to us it seemed 

At first that Angel should with Angel war, 

And in fierce hosting meet, who wont to meet 

So oft in festivals of joy and love 

Unanimous, as sons of one great Sire, 

Hymning the Eternal Father. But the shout 

Of battle now began, and rushing sound 

Of onset ended soon each milder thought. 

High in the midst, exalted as a god, 

The Apostate in his sun-bright chariot sat, 100 

Idol of majesty divine, enclosed 

With flaming Cherubim and golden shields ; 

Then lighted from his gorgeous throne, for now 

'Twixt host and host but narrow space was left, 

A dreadful interval, and front to front 

Presented stood, in terrible array 

Of hideous length. Before the cloudy van, 

On the rough edge of battle ere it joined, 

Satan, with vast and haughty strides advanced, 

Came towering, armed in adamant and gold. no 

Abdiel that sight endured not, where he stood 

Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds, 

And thus his own undaunted heart explores : 

" ' O Heaven ! that such resemblance of the Highest 
Should yet remain, where faith and realty 
Remain not ! Wherefore should not strength and might 
There fail where virtue fails, or weakest prove 
Where boldest, though to sight unconquerable? 
His puissance, trusting in the Almighty's aid, 
I mean to try, whose reason I have tried 120 

BOOK VI. 167 

Unsound and false ; nor is it aught but just 
That he who in debate of truth hath won 
Should win in arms, in both disputes alike 
Victor; though brutish that contest and foul, 
When reason hath to deal with force, yet so 
Most reason is that reason overcome.' 

" So pondering, and from his armed peers 
Forth-stepping opposite, half-way he met 
His daring foe, at this prevention more 
Incensed, and thus securely him defied : 130 

" ' Proud, art thou met ? Thy hope was to have reached 
The highth of thy aspiring unopposed, 
The throne of God unguarded, and his side 
Abandoned at the terror of thy power 
Or potent tongue. Fool ! not to think how vain 
Against the Omnipotent to rise in arms; 
Who, out of smallest things, could without end 
Have raised incessant armies to defeat 
Thy folly; or with solitary hand, 

Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow, 140 

Unaided could have finished thee, and whelmed 
Thy legions under darkness ! But thou seest 
All are not of thy train; there be who faith 
Prefer, and piety to God, though then 
To thee not visible when I alone 
Seemed in thy world erroneous to dissent 
From all : my sect thou seest ; now learn too late 
How few sometimes may know, when thousands err.' 

"Whom the grand Foe, with scornful eye askance, 
Thus answered: '111 for thee, but in wished hour 150 
Of my revenge, first sought for, thou return'st 
From flight, seditious Angel, to receive 
Thy merited reward, the first assay 


Of this right hand provoked, since first that tongue, 

Inspired with contradiction, durst oppose 

A third part of the gods, in synod met 

Their deities to assert ; who, while they feel 

Vigour divine within them, can allow 

Omnipotence to none. But well thou com'st 

Before thy fellows, ambitious to win 160 

From me some plume, that thy success may show 

Destruction to the rest. This pause between 

(Unanswered lest thou boast) to let thee know 

At first I thought that liberty and Heaven 

To heavenly souls had been all one ; but now 

I see that most through sloth had rather serve, 

Ministering Spirits, trained up in feast and song: 

Such hast thou armed, the minstrelsy of Heaven, 

Servility with freedom to contend, 

As both their deeds compared this day shall prove.' 170 

"To whom, in brief, thus Abdiel stern replied: 
* Apostate! still thou err'st, nor end wilt find 
Of erring, from the path of truth remote. 
Unjustly thou deprav'st it with the name 
Of servitude, to serve whom God ordains, 
Or Nature: God and Nature bid the same, 
When he who rules is worthiest, and excels 
Them whom he governs. This is servitude, 
To serve the unwise, or him who hath rebelled 
Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee, iSo 

Thyself not free, but to thyself enthralled; 
Yet lewdly dar'st our ministering upbraid. 
Reign thou in Hell, thy kingdom ; let me serve 
In Heaven God ever blest, and his divine 
Behests obey, worthiest to be obeyed; 
Yet chains in Hell, not realms, expect : meanwhile, 


I6 9 

From me returned, as erst thou saidst, from flight, 
This greeting on thy impious crest receive.' 
"So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high, 
Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell 190 

On the proud crest of Satan that no sight, 
Nor motion of swift thought, less could his shield, 
Such ruin intercept. Ten paces huge 
He back recoiled; the tenth on bended knee 
His massy spear upstayed : as if, on Earth, 
Winds under ground, or waters forcing way, 
Sidelong had pushed a mountain from his seat, 
Half-sunk with all his pines. Amazement seized 
The rebel Thrones, but greater rage, to see 
Thus foiled their mightiest; ours joy rilled, and shout, 
Presage of victory, and fierce desire 201 

Of battle : whereat Michael bid sound 
The Archangel trumpet; through the vast of Heaven 
It sounded, and the faithful armies rung 
Hosannah to the Highest ; nor stood at gaze 
The adverse legions, nor less hideous joined 
The horrid shock. Now storming fury rose, 
And clamour such as heard in Heaven till now 
Was never; arms on armour clashing brayed 
Horrible discord, and the madding wheels 210 

Of brazen chariots raged ; dire was the noise 
Of conflict; overhead the dismal hiss 
Of fiery darts in flaming volleys flew, 
And, flying, vaulted either host with fire. 
So under fiery cope together rushed 
Both battles main, with ruinous assault 
And inextinguishable rage; all Heaven 
Resounded, and, had Earth been then, all Earth 
Had to her centre shook. What wonder, when 


Millions of fierce encountering Angels fought 220 

On either side, the least of whom could wield 

These elements, and arm him with the force 

Of all their regions ? How much more of power 

Army against army numberless to raise 

Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb, 

Though not destroy, their happy native seat ! 

Had not the Eternal King Omnipotent 

From his stronghold of Heaven high overruled 

And limited their might; though numbered such 

As each divided legion might have seemed 230 

A numerous host; in strength each armed hand 

A legion ; led in fight, yet leader seemed 

Each warrior single as in chief expert 

When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway 

Of battle, open when, and when to close 

The ridges of grim war. No thought of flight, 

None of retreat, no unbecoming deed 

That argued fear; each on himself relied, 

As only in his arm the moment lay 

Of victory. Deeds of eternal fame 240 

Were done, but infinite; for wide was spread 

That war, and various : sometimes on firm ground 

A standing fight; then, soaring on main wing, 

Tormented all the air; all air seemed then 

Conflicting fire. Long time in even scale 

The battle hung ; till Satan, who that day 

Prodigious power had shown, and met in arms 

No equal, ranging through the dire attack 

Of fighting Seraphim confused, at length 

Saw where the sword of Michael smote, and felled 250 

Squadrons at once : with huge two-handed sway 

Brandished aloft the horrid edge came down 


Wide-wasting; such destruction to withstand 

He hasted, and opposed the rocky orb 

Of tenfold adamant, his ample shield, 

A vast circumference. At his approach 

The great Archangel from his warlike toil 

Surceased, and, glad, as hoping here to end 

Intestine war in Heaven, the Arch-foe subdued 

Or captive dragged in chains, with hostile frown 260 

And visage all inflamed, first thus began : 

" * Author of evil, unknown till thy revolt, 
Unnamed in Heaven, now plenteous as thou seest 
These acts of hateful strife, hateful to all, 
Though heaviest, by just measure, on thyself 
And thy adherents : how hast thou disturbed 
Heaven's blessed peace, and into Nature brought 
Misery, uncreated till the crime 
Of thy rebellion ! how hast thou instilled 
Thy malice into thousands, once upright 270 

And faithful, now proved false ! But think not here 
To trouble holy rest;. Heaven casts thee out 
From all her confines; Heaven, the seat of bliss, 
Brooks not the works of violence and war. 
Hence, then, and evil go with thee along, 
Thy offspring, to the place of evil, Hell, 
Thou and thy wicked crew ! there mingle broils, 
Ere this avenging sword begin thy doom, 
Or some more sudden vengeance, winged from God, 
Precipitate thee with augmented pain.' 280 

" So spake the prince of Angels ; to whom thus 
The Adversary : * Nor think thou with wind 
Of airy threats to awe whom yet with deeds 
Thou canst not. Hast thou turned the least of these 
To flight or, if to fall, but that they rise 


Unvanquished easier to transact with me 

That thou shouldst hope, imperious, and with threats 

To chase me hence? Err not that so shall end 

The strife which thou call'st evil, but we style 

The strife of glory; which we mean to win, 290 

Or turn this Heaven itself into the Hell 

Thou fablest; here, however, to dwell free, 

If not to reign. Meanwhile, thy utmost force 

(And join him named Almighty to thy aid) 

I fly not, but have sought thee far and nigh.' 

"They ended parle, and both addressed for fight 
Unspeakable; for who, though with the tongue 
Of Angels, can relate, or to what things 
Liken on Earth conspicuous, that may lift 
Human imagination to such highth 300 

Of godlike power? for likest gods they seemed, 
Stood they or moved, in stature, motion, arms, 
Fit to decide the empire of great Heaven. 
Now waved their fiery swords, and in the air 
Made horrid circles; two broad suns their shields 
Blazed opposite, while Expectation stood 
In horror; from each hand with speed retired, 
Where erst was thickest fight, the angelic throng, 
And left large field, unsafe within the wind 
Of such commotion : such as (to set forth 310 

Great things by small) if, Nature's concord broke, 
Among the constellations war were sprung, 
Two planets, rushing from aspect malign 
Of fiercest opposition, in mid sky 
Should combat, and their jarring spheres confound. 
Together both, with next to almighty arm 
Uplifted imminent, one stroke they aimed 
That might determine, and not need repeat, 

BOOK VI. 173 

As not of power at once; nor odds appeared 

In might or swift prevention. But the sword 320 

Of Michael from the armoury of God 

Was given him tempered so, that neither keen 

Nor solid might resist that edge : it met 

The sword of Satan, with steep force to smite 

Descending, and in half cut sheer; nor stayed, 

But, with swift wheel reverse, deep entering shared 

All his right side. Then Satan first knew pain, 

And writhed him to and fro convolved; so sore 

The griding sword with discontinuous wound 

Passed through him ; but the ethereal substance closed, 330 

Not long divisible, and from the gash 

A stream of nectarous humour issuing flowed 

Sanguine, such as celestial Spirits may bleed, 

And all his armour stained, erewhile so bright 

Forthwith on all sides to his aid was run 

By Angels many and strong, who interposed 

Defence, while others bore him on their shields 

Back to his chariot, where it stood retired 

From off the files of war; there they him laid 

Gnashing for anguish, and despite, and shame 340 

To find himself not matchless, and his pride 

Humbled by such rebuke, so far beneath 

His confidence to equal God in power. 

Yet soon he healed; for Spirits, that live throughout 

Vital in every part not, as frail Man, 

In entrails, heart or head, liver or reins 

Cannot but by annihilating die; 

Nor in their liquid texture mortal wound 

Receive, no more than can the fluid air : 

All heart they live, all head, all eye, all ear, 350 

All intellect, all sense; and as they please 


They limb themselves, and colour, shape, or size 
Assume, as likes them best, condense or rare. 

" Meanwhile, in other parts, like deeds deserved 
Memorial, where the might of Gabriel fought, 
And with fierce ensigns pierced the deep array 
Of Moloch, furious king, who him defied, 
And at his chariot-wheels to drag him bound 
Threatened, nor from the Holy One of Heaven 
Refrained his tongue blasphemous; but anon, 360 

Down cloven to the waist, with shattered arms 
And uncouth pain fled bellowing. On each wing 
Uriel and Raphael his vaunting foe, 
Though huge and in a rock of diamond armed, 
Vanquished Adramelech and Asmadai, 
Two potent Thrones, that to be less than gods 
Disdained, but meaner thoughts learned in their flight, 
Mangled with ghastly wounds through plate and mail. 
Nor stood unmindful Abdiel to annoy 
The atheist crew, but with redoubled blow 370 

Ariel, and Arioch, and the violence 
Of Ramiel, scorched and blasted, overthrew. 
I might relate of thousands, and their names 
Eternize here on Earth; but those elect 
Angels, contented with their fame in Heaven, 
Seek not the praise of men : the other sort, 
In might though wondrous and in acts of war, 
Nor of renown less eager, yet by doom 
Cancelled from Heaven and sacred memory, 
Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell; 380 

For strength from truth divided, and from just, 
Illaudable, nought merits but dispraise 
And ignominy, yet to glory aspires, 
Vain-glorious, and through infamy seeks fame : 

BOOK VI. I7 5 

Therefore eternal silence be their doom. 

"And now, their mightiest quelled, the battle swerved, 
With many an inroad gored ; deformed rout 
Entered, and foul disorder; all the ground 
With shivered armour strown, and on a heap 
Chariot and charioter lay overturned, 390 

And fiery foaming steeds; what stood recoiled, 
O'er-wearied, through the faint Satanic host, 
Defensive scarce, or with pale fear surprised, 
Then first with fear surprised and sense of pain, 
Fled ignominious, to such evil brought 
By sin of disobedience; till that hour 
Not liable to fear, or flight, or pain. 
Far otherwise the inviolable Saints 
In cubic phalanx firm advanced entire, 
Invulnerable, impenetrably armed; 400 

Such high advantages their innocence 
Gave them above their foes not to have sinned, 
Not to have disobeyed; in fight they stood 
Unwearied, unobnoxious to be pained 
By wound, though from their place by violence moved. 

"Now Night her course began, and, over Heaven 
Inducing darkness, grateful truce imposed, 
And silence on the odious din of war; 
Under her cloudy covert both retired, 
Victor and vanquished. On the foughten field 410 

Michael and his Angels prevalent 
Encamping placed in guard their watches round, 
Cherubic waving fires : on the other part, 
Satan with his rebellious disappeared, 
Far in the dark dislodged, and, void of rest, 
His potentates to council called by night, 
And in the midst thus undismayed began: 


t(t O now in danger tried, now known in arms 
Not to be overpowered, companions dear, 
Found worthy not of liberty alone, 420 

Too mean pretence, but, what we more affect, 
Honour, dominion, glory, and renown; 
Who have sustained one day in doubtful fight ; 
(And if one day, why not eternal days?) 
What Heaven's Lord had powerfullest to send 
Against us from about his throne, and judged 
Sufficient to subdue us to his will, 
But proves not so : then fallible, it seems, 
Of future we may deem him, though till now 
Omniscient thought. True is, less firmly armed, 430 

Some disadvantage we endured, and pain 
Till now not known, but, known, as soon contemned; 
Since now we find this our empyreal form 
Incapable of mortal injury, 
Imperishable, and, though pierced with wound, 
Soon closing, and by native vigour healed. 
Of evil, then, so small as easy think 
The remedy : perhaps more valid arms, 
Weapons more violent, when next we meet, 
May serve to better us and worse our foes, 440 

Or equal what between us made the odds, 
In nature none : if other hidden cause 
Left them superior, while we can preserve 
Unhurt our minds, and understanding sound, 
Due search and consultation will disclose.' 

"He sat; and in the assembly next upstood 
Nisroch, of Principalities the prime; 
As one he stood escaped from cruel fight, 
Sore toiled, his riven arms to havoc hewn, 
And, cloudy in aspect, thus answering spake: 450 

BOOK VI. ^7 

" ' Deliverer from new Lords, leader to free 
Enjoyment of our right as gods ! yet hard 
For gods, and too unequal work, we find 
Against unequal arms to fight in pain, 
Against unpained, impassive ; from which evil 
Ruin must needs ensue ; for what avails 
Valour or strength, though matchless, quelled with pain, 
Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands 
Of mightiest? Sense of pleasure we may well 
Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine, 460 

But live content, which is the calmest life; 
But pain is perfect misery, the worst 
Of evils, and, excessive, overturns 
All patience. He who, therefore, can invent 
With what more forcible we may offend 
Our yet unwounded enemies, or arm 
Ourselves with like defence, to me deserves 
No less than for deliverance what we owe.' 

" Whereto, with look composed, Satan replied : 
'Not uninvented that, which thou aright 470 

Believ'st so main to our success, I bring. 
Which of us who beholds the bright surface 
Of this ethereous mould whereon we stand 
This continent of spacious Heaven, adorned 
With plant, fruit, flower ambrosial, gems and gold 
Whose eye so superficially surveys 
These things, as not to mind from whence they grow 
Deep under ground, materials dark and crude, 
Of spiritous and fiery spume, till touched 
With Heaven's ray, and tempered, they shoot forth 480 
So beauteous, opening to the ambient light? 
These in their dark nativity the deep 
Shall yield us, pregnant with infernal flame; 

p. L. 12 


Which, into hollow engines long and round 

Thick-rammed, at the other bore with touch of fire 

Dilated and infuriate, shall send forth 

From far, with thundering noise, among our foes 

Such implements of mischief as shall dash 

To pieces and o'erwhelm whatever stands 

Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarmed 490 

The Thunderer of his only dreaded bolt. 

Nor long shall be our labour; yet ere dawn 

Effect shall end our wish. Meanwhile revive; 

Abandon fear; to strength and counsel joined 

Think nothing hard, much less to be despaired.' 

" He ended ; and his words their drooping cheer 
Enlightened, and their languished hope revived. 
The invention all admired, and each how he 
To be the inventor missed ; so easy it seemed 
Once found, which yet unfound most would have thought 
Impossible. Yet, haply, of thy race, 501 

In future days, if malice should abound, 
Some one intent on mischief, or inspired 
With devilish machination, might devise 
Like instrument to plague the sons of men 
For sin, on war and mutual slaughter bent. 
Forthwith from council to the work they flew; 
None arguing stood; innumerable hands 
Were ready; in a moment up they turned 
Wide the celestial soil, and saw beneath 510 

The originals of Nature in their crude 
Conception; sulphurous and nitrous foam 
They found, they mingled, and, with subtle art 
Concocted and adusted, they reduced 
To blackest grain, and into store conveyed. 
Part hidden veins digged up (nor hath this Earth 



Entrails unlike) of mineral and stone, 

Whereof to found their engines and their balls 

Of missive ruin; part incentive reed 

Provide, pernicious with one touch to fire. 520 

So all ere day-spring, under conscious night, 

Secret they finished, and in order set, 

With silent circumspection, unespied. 

"Now when fair Morn orient in Heaven appeared, 
Up rose the victor Angels, and to arms 
The matin trumpet sung: in arms they stood 
Of golden panoply, refulgent host, 
Soon banded; others from the dawning hills 
Looked round, and scouts each coast light-armed scour, 
Each quarter, to descry the distant foe, 530 

Where lodged, or whither fled, or if for fight, 
In motion or in halt. Him soon they met 
Under spread ensigns moving nigh, in slow 
But firm battalion ; back with speediest sail, 
Zophiel, of Cherubim the swiftest wing, 
Came flying, and in mid air aloud thus cried : 

"'Arm, warriors, arm for fight! The foe at hand, 
Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuit 
This day; fear not his flight; so thick a cloud 
He comes, and settled in his face I see 540 

Sad resolution and secure. Let each 
His adamantine coat gird well, and each 
Fit well his helm, gripe fast his orbed shield, 
Borne even or high; for this day will pour down, 
If I conjecture aught, no drizzling shower, 
But rattling storm of arrows barbed with fire.' 

" So warned he them, aware themselves, and soon 
In order, quit of all impediment; 
Instant, without disturb, they took alarm, 



And onward move embattled : when, behold ! 550 

Not distant far, with heavy pace the foe 

Approaching gross and huge; in hollow cube 

Training his devilish enginry, impaled 

On every side with shadowing squadrons deep, 

To hide the fraud. At interview both stood 

A while; but suddenly at head appeared 

Satan, and thus was heard commanding loud : 

"'Vanguard, to right and left the front unfold, 
That all may see who hate us, how we seek 
Peace and composure, and with open breast 560 

Stand ready to receive them, if they like 
Our overture, and turn not back perverse; 
But that I doubt: however, witness Heaven! 
Heaven, witness thou anon ! while we discharge 
Freely our part. Ye, who appointed stand, 
Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch 
What we propound, and loud that all may hear.' 

"So scoffing in ambiguous words, he scarce 
Had ended, when to right and left the front 
Divided, and to either flank retired; 570 

Which to our eyes discovered, new and strange, 
A triple mounted row of pillars laid 
On wheels (for like to pillars most they seemed, 
Or hollowed bodies made of oak or fir, 
With branches lopt, in wood or mountain felled), 
Brass, iron, stony mould, had not their mouths 
With hideous orifice gaped on us wide, 
Portending hollow truce. At each behind 
A Seraph stood, and in his hand a reed 
Stood waving tipt with fire; while we, suspense, 580 

Collected stood within our thoughts amused; 
Not long, for sudden all, at once, their reeds 

BOOK VI. l8l 

Put forth, and to a narrow vent applied 4 

With nicest touch. Immediate in a flame, 

But soon obscured with smoke, all Heaven appeared, 

From those deep-throated engines belched, whose roar 

Embowelled with outrageous noise the air, 

And all her entrails tore, disgorging foul 

Their devilish glut, chained thunderbolts and hail 

Of iron globes; which, on the victor host 590 

Levelled, with such impetuous fury smote, 

That whom they hit none on their feet might stand, 

Though standing else as rocks, but down they fell 

By thousands, Angel on Archangel rolled, 

The sooner for their arms : unarmed, they might 

Have easily, as Spirits, evaded swift 

By quick contraction or remove; but now 

Foul dissipation followed, and forced rout; 

Nor served it to relax their serried files. 

What should they do? If on they rushed, repulse 600 

Repeated, and indecent overthrow 

Doubled, would render them yet more despised, 

And to their foes a laughter; for in view 

Stood ranked of Seraphim another row, 

In posture to displode their second tire 

Of thunder; back defeated to return 

They worse abhorred. Satan beheld their plight, 

And to his mates thus in derision called : 

"*O friends, why come not on these victors proud? 
Erewhile they fierce were coming; and when we, 610 
To entertain them fair with open front 
And breast (what could we more?), propounded terms 
Of composition, straight they changed their minds, 
Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell, 
As they would dance : yet for a dance they seemed 


Somewhat extravagant and wild, perhaps 
For joy of offered peace. But I suppose, 
If our proposals once again were heard, 
We should compel them to a quick result.' 

" To whom thus Belial, in like gamesome mood : 620 
'Leader, the terms we sent were terms of weight, 
Of hard contents, and full of force urged home, 
Such as we might perceive amused them all, 
And stumbled many: who receives them right 
Had need from head to foot well understand; 
Not understood, this gift they have besides, 
They show us when our foes walk not upright.' 

"So they among themselves in pleasant vein 
Stood scoffing, highthened in their thoughts beyond 
All doubt of victory; Eternal Might 630 

To match with their inventions they presumed 
So easy, and of his thunder made a scorn, 
And all his host derided, while they stood 
A while in trouble : but they stood not long ; 
Rage prompted them at length, and found them arms 
Against such hellish mischief fit to oppose. 
Forthwith (behold the excellence, the power, 
Which God hath in his mighty Angels placed !) 
Their arms away they threw, and to the hills 
(For Earth hath this variety from Heaven 640 

Of pleasure situate in hill and dale) 
Light as the lightning-glimpse they ran, they flew; 
From their foundations loosening to and fro, 
They plucked the seated hills, with all their load, 
Rocks, waters, woods, and by the shaggy tops 
Uplifting bore them in their hands. Amaze, 
Be sure, and terror seized the rebel host, 
When coming towards them so dread they saw 

BOOK VI. 183 

The bottom of the mountains upward turned; 

Till on those cursed engines' triple row 650 

They saw them whelmed, and all their confidence 

Under the weight of mountains buried deep; 

Themselves invaded next, and on their heads 

Main promontories flung, which in the air 

Came shadowing, and oppressed whole legions armed. 

Their armour helped their harm, crushed in and bruised 

Into their substance pent, which wrought them pain 

Implacable, and many a dolorous groan, 

Long struggling underneath, ere they could wind 

Out of such prison, though Spirits of purest light, 660 

Purest at first, now gross by sinning grown. 

The rest, in imitation, to like arms 

Betook them, and the neighbouring hills uptore ; 

So hills amid the air encountered hills, 

Hurled to and fro with jaculation dire, 

That underground they fought in dismal shade; 

Infernal noise ! war seemed a civil game 

To this uproar; horrid confusion heaped 

Upon confusion rose. And now all Heaven 

Had gone to wrack, with ruin overspread, 670 

Had not the Almighty Father, where he sits 

Shrined in his sanctuary of Heaven secure, 

Consulting on the sum of things, foreseen 

This tumult, and permitted all, advised, 

That his great purpose he might so fulfil, 

To honour his anointed Son, avenged 

Upon his enemies, and to declare 

All power on him transferred : whence to his Son, 

The assessor of his throne, he thus began : 

" ' Effulgence of my glory, Son beloved, 680 

Son in whose face invisible is beheld 


Visibly, what by Deity I am, 

And in whose hand what by decree I do, 

Second Omnipotence ! two days are passed, 

Two days, as we compute the days of Heaven, 

Since Michael and his powers went forth to tame 

These disobedient. Sore hath been their fight, 

As likeliest was when two such foes met armed ; 

For to themselves I left them; and thou know'st, 

Equal in their creation they were formed, 690 

Save what sin hath impaired which yet hath wrought 

Insensibly, for I suspend their doom : 

Whence in perpetual fight they needs must last 

Endless, and no solution will be found. 

War wearied hath performed what war can do, 

And to disordered rage let loose the reins, 

With mountains, as with weapons, armed; which makes 

Wild work in Heaven, and dangerous to the main. 

Two days are, therefore, passed, the third is thine: 

For thee I have ordained it, and thus far 700 

Have suffered, that the glory may be thine 

Of ending this great war, since none but thou 

Can end it. Into thee such virtue and grace 

Immense I have transfused, that all may know 

In Heaven and Hell thy power above compare; 

And this perverse commotion governed thus, 

To manifest thee worthiest to be Heir 

Of all things to be Heir and to be King 

By sacred unction, thy deserved right. 

Go, then, thou Mightiest, in thy Father's might; 710 

Ascend my chariot, guide the rapid wheels 

That shake Heaven's basis; bring forth all my war, 

My bow and thunder, my almighty arms 

Gird on, and sword upon thy puissant thigh ; 

BOOK VI. 185 

Pursue these Sons of Darkness, drive them out 
From all Heaven's bounds into the utter deep; 
There let them learn, as likes them, to despise 
God and Messiah his anointed King.' 

" He said, and on his Son with rays direct 
Shone full ; he all his Father full expressed 720 

Ineffably into his face received; 
And thus the Filial Godhead answering spake: 

" * O Father, O Supreme of Heavenly Thrones, 
First, Highest, Holiest, Best, thou always seek'st 
To glorify thy Son; I always thee, 
As is most just. This I my glory account, 
My exaltation, and my whole delight, 
That thou in me well pleased declar'st thy will 
Fulfilled, which to fulfil is all my bliss. 
Sceptre and power, thy giving, I assume, 730 

And gladlier shall resign, when in the end 
Thou shalt be all in all, and I in thee 
For ever, and in ^ne all whom thou lov'st : 
But whom thou hat'st I hate, and can put on 
Thy terrors, as I put thy mildness on, 
Image of thee in all things; and shall soon, 
Armed with thy might, rid Heaven of these rebelled, 
To their prepared ill mansion driven down, 
To chains of darkness and the undying worm, 
That from thy just obedience could revolt, 740 

Whom to obey is happiness entire. 
Then shall thy Saints, unmixed, and from the impure 
Far separate, circling thy holy mount, 
Unfeigned halleluiahs to thee sing, 
Hymns of high praise, and I among them chief.' 

"So said, he, o'er his sceptre bowing, rose 
From the right hand of Glory where he sat; 


And the third sacred morn began to shine, 

Dawning through Heaven. Forth rushed with whirlwind 


The chariot of Paternal Deity, 750 

Flashing thick flames, wheel within wheel, undrawn, 
Itself instinct with spirit, but convoyed 
By four Cherubic shapes. Four faces each 
Had wondrous ; as with stars, their bodies all 
And wings were set with eyes; with eyes the wheels 
Of beryl, and careering fires between; 
Over their heads a crystal firmament, 
Whereon a sapphire throne, inlaid with pure 
Amber and colours of the showery arch. 
He, in celestial panoply all armed 760 

Of radiant Urim, work divinely wrought, 
Ascended; at his right hand Victory 
Sat eagle-winged; beside him hung his bow 
And quiver with three-bolted thunder stored; 
And from about him fierce effusion rolled 
Of smoke, and bickering flame, and sparkles dire. 
Attended with ten thousand thousand Saints, 
He onward came ; far off his coming shone ; 
And twenty thousand (I their number heard) 
Chariots of God, half on each hand, were seen. 770 

He on the wings of Cherub rode sublime 
On the crystalline sky, in sapphire throned, 
Illustrious far and wide, but by his own 
First seen ; them unexpected joy surprised 
When the great ensign of Messiah blazed 
Aloft by Angels borne, his sign in Heaven; 
Under whose conduct Michael soon reduced 
His army, circumfused on either wing, 
Under their Head embodied all in one. 

BOOK VI. 187 

Before him Power Divine his way prepared; 780 

At his command the uprooted hills retired 

Each to his place; they heard his voice, and went 

Obsequious; Heaven his wonted face renewed, 

And with fresh flowerets hill and valley smiled. 

"This saw his hapless foes, but stood obdured, 
And to rebellious fight rallied their powers, 
Insensate, hope conceiving from despair. 
In Heavenly Spirits could such perverseness dwell? 
But to convince the proud what signs avail, 
Or wonders move the obdurate to relent? 790 

They, hardened more by what might most reclaim, 
Grieving to see his glory, at the sight 
Took envy, and, aspiring to his highth, 
Stood re-embattled fierce, by force or fraud 
Weening to prosper, and at length prevail 
Against God and Messiah, or to fall 
In universal ruin last; and now 
To final battle drew, disdaining flight, 
Or faint retreat : when the great Son of God 
To all his host on either hand thus spake : 800 

"' Stand still in bright array, ye Saints; here stand, 
Ye Angels armed; this day from battle rest. 
Faithful hath been your warfare, and of God 
Accepted, fearless in his righteous cause; 
And as ye have received, so have ye done, 
Invincibly. But of this cursed crew 
The punishment to other hand belongs; 
Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints : 
Number to this day's work is not ordained, 
Nor multitude ; stand only and behold 810 

God's indignation on these godless poured 
By me; not you, but me, they have despised, 


Yet envied ; against me is all their rage, 

Because the Father, to whom in Heaven supreme 

Kingdom and power and glory appertains, 

Hath honoured me, according to his will. 

Therefore to me their doom he hath assigned, 

That they may have their wish, to try with me 

In battle which the stronger proves they all, 

Or I alone against them; since by strength 820 

They measure all, of other excellence 

Not emulous, nor care who them excels ; 

Nor other strife with them do I vouchsafe.' 

"So spake the Son, and into terror changed * 
His countenance, too severe to be beheld, 
And full of wrath bent on his enemies. 
At once the Four spread out their starry wings 
With dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbs 
Of his fierce chariot rolled, as with the sound 
Of torrent floods, or of a numerous host. 830 

He on his impious foes right onward drove, 
Gloomy as night; under his burning wheels 
The steadfast Empyrean shook throughout, 
All but the throne itself of God. Full soon 
Among them he arrived, in his right hand 
Grasping ten thousand thunders, which he sent 
Before him, such as in their souls infixed 
Plagues; they, astonished, all resistance lost, 
All courage; down their idle weapons dropt; 
O'er shields, and helms, and helmed heads he rode 840 
Of Thrones and mighty Seraphim prostrate, 
That wished the mountains now might be again 
Thrown on them, as a shelter from his ire. 
Nor less on either side tempestuous fell 
His arrows, from the fourfold- visaged Four, 

BOOK VI. 189 

Distinct with eyes, and from the living wheels, 

Distinct alike with multitude of eyes ; 

One spirit in them ruled, and every eye 

Glared lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire 

Among the accursed, that withered all their strength, 850 

And of their wonted vigour left them drained, 

Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fallen. 

Yet half his strength he put not forth, but checked 

His thunder in mid-volley; for he meant 

Not to destroy, but root them out of Heaven. 

The overthrown he raised, and, as a herd 

Of goats or timorous flock together thronged, 

Drove them before him thunderstruck, pursued 

With terrors and with furies to the bounds 

And crystal wall of Heaven; which, opening wide, 860 

Rolled inward, and a spacious gap disclosed 

Into the wasteful deep. The monstrous sight 

Strook them with horror backward, but far worse 

Urged them behind ; headlong themselves they threw 

Down from the verge of Heaven; eternal wrath 

Burned after them to the bottomless pit. 

" Hell heard the unsufferable noise ; Hell saw 
Heaven ruining from Heaven, and would have fled 
Affrighted; but strict Fate had cast too deep 
Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound. 870 

Nine days they fell; confounded Chaos roared, 
And felt tenfold confusion in their fall 
Through his wild anarchy; so huge a rout 
Encumbered him with ruin. Hell at last, 
Yawning, received them whole, and on them closed; 
Hell, their fit habitation, fraught with fire 
Unquenchable, the house of woe and pain. 
Disburdened Heaven rejoiced, and soon repaired 


Her mural breach, returning whence it rolled. 

Sole victor, from the expulsion of his foes 880 

Messiah his triumphal chariot turned. 

To meet him all his Saints, who silent stood 

Eye-witnesses of his almighty acts, 

With jubilee advanced; and as they went, 

Shaded with branching palm, each order bright 

Sung triumph, and him sung victorious King, 

Son, Heir, and Lord, to him dominion given, 

Worthiest to reign. He, celebrated, rode 

Triumphant through mid Heaven, into the courts 

And temple of his mighty Father throned 890 

On high; who into glory him received, 

Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss. 

" Thus, measuring things in Heaven by things on Earth, 
At thy request, and that thou may'st beware 
By what is past, to thee I have revealed 
What might have else to human race been hid ; 
The discord which befell, and war in Heaven 
Among the angelic powers, and the deep fall 
Of those too high aspiring t who rebelled 
With Satan : he who envies now thy state, 900 

Who now is plotting how he may seduce 
Thee also from obedience, that, with him 
Bereaved of'happiness, thou may'st partake 
His punishment, eternal misery; 
Which would be all his solace and revenge, 
As a despite done against the Most High, 
Thee once to gain companion of his woe. 
But listen not to his temptations ; warn 
Thy weaker; let it profit thee to have heard, 
By terrible example, the reward 910 

Of disobedience. Firm they might have stood, 
Yet fell ; remember, and fear to transgress." 



Raphael, at the request of Adam, relates how and wherefore this 
World was first created : that God, after the expelling of Satan and his 
Angels out of Heaven, declared his pleasure to create another World, and 
other creatures to dwell therein ; sends his Son with glory, and attendance 
of Angels, to perform the work of creation in six days: the Angels 
celebrate with hymns the performance thereof, and his reascension into 


DESCEND from Heaven, Urania, by that name 
If rightly thou art called, whose voice divine 
Following, above the Olympian hill I soar, 
Above the flight of Pegasean wing! 
The meaning, not the name, I call; for thou 
Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top 
Of old Olympus dwell'st ; but Heavenly-born, ^ 
Before the hills appeared or fountain flowed, 
Thou with eternal Wisdom didst converse, 
Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play 10 

In presence of the Almighty Father, pleased 
With thy celestial song. Up led by thee, 
Into the Heaven of Heavens I have presumed, 
An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air, 
Thy tempering : with like safety guided down, 
Return me to my native element; 
Lest from this flying steed unreined (as once 
Bellerophon, though from a lower clime) 
DismoTmted, on the Aleian field I fall, 
Erroneous there to wander and forlorn. 20 

Half yet remains unsung, but narrower bound 
Within the visible diurnal sphere. 

P. L. 13 


Standing on Earth, not rapt above the pole, 

More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchanged 

To hoarse or mute, though fallen on evil days, 

On evil days though fallen, and evil tongues; 

In darkness, and with dangers compassed round, 

And solitude; yet not alone, while thou 

Visit'st my slumbers nightly, or when morn 

Purples the east. Still govern thou my song, 30 

Urania, and fit audience find, though few; 

But drive far off the barbarous dissonance 

Of Bacchus and his revellers, the race 

Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard 

In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears 

To rapture, till the savage clamour drowned 

Both harp and voice; nor could the Muse defend 

Her son. So fail not thou who thee implores; 

For thou art Heavenly, she an empty dream. 

Say, Goddess, what ensued when Raphael, 40 

The affable Archangel, had forewarned 
Adam by dire example to beware 
Apostasy, by what befell in Heaven 
To those apostates, lest the like befall 
In Paradise to Adam or his race, 
Charged not to touch the interdicted Tree, 
If they transgress, and slight that sole command, 
So easily obeyed amid the choice 
Of all tastes else to please their appetite, 
Though wandering. He with his consorted Eve 50 

The story heard attentive, and was filled 
With admiration and deep muse, to hear 
Of things so high and strange, things to their thought 
So unimaginable as hate in Heaven, 
And war so near the peace of God in bliss. 

BOOK VII. 195 

With such confusion ; but the evil, soon 

Driven back, redounded as a flood on those 

From whom it sprung, impossible to mix 

With blessedness. Whence Adam soon repealed 

The doubts that in his heart arose; and now 60 

Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know 

What nearer might concern him, how this World 

Of Heaven and Earth conspicuous first began; 

When, and whereof, created; for what cause; 

What within Eden, or without, was done 

Before his memory as one whose drouth 

Yet scarce allayed still eyes the current stream, 

Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst excites - 

Proceeded thus to ask his Heavenly guest: ^ 

" Great things, and full of wonder in our ears, 70 

Far differing from this World, thou hast revealed, 
Divine interpreter! by favour sent 
Down from the Empyrean to forewarn 
Us timely of what might else have been our loss, 
Unknown, which human knowledge could not reach; 
For which to the infinitely Good we owe 
Immortal thanks, and his admonishment 
Receive with solemn purpose to observe 
Immutably his sovran will, the end 

Of what we are. But, since thou hast vouchsafed 80 
Gently, for our instruction, to impart 
Things above earthly thought, which yet concerned 
Our knowing, as to highest Wisdom 
Deign to descend now lower, and relate 
What may no less perhaps avail us known : 
How first began this heaven which we behold 
Distant so high, with moving fires adorned 
Innumerable; and this which yields or fills 



All space, the ambient air wide interfused, 

Embracing round this florid Earth; what cause 90 

Moved the Creator, in his holy rest 

Through all eternity, so late to build 

In Chaos; and the work begun how soon 

Absolved ; if unforbid thou may'st unfold 

What we not to explore the secrets ask 

Of his eternal empire, but the more 

To magnify his works the more we know. 

And the great light of day yet wants to run 

Much of his race, though steep; suspense in heaven, 

Held by thy voice, thy potent voice, he hears, 100 

And longer will delay to hear thee tell 

His generation, and the rising birth 

Of Nature from the unapparent Deep; 

Or if the star of evening and the moon 

Haste to thy audience, Night with her will bring 

Silence, and Sleep listening to thee will watch; 

Or we can bid his absence till thy song 

End, and dismiss thee ere the morning shine." 

Thus Adam his illustrious guest besought; 
And thus the godlike Angel answered mild : 1 10 

"This also thy request, with caution asked, 
Obtain; though to recount almighty works 
What words or tongue of Seraph can suffice, 
Or heart of man suffice to comprehend? 
Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve 
To glorify the Maker, and infer 
Thee also happier, shall not be withheld 
Thy hearing; such commission from above 
I have received, to answer thy desire 
Of knowledge within bounds ; beyond abstain 120 

To ask, nor let thine own inventions hope 



Things not revealed, which the invisible King, 

Only omniscient, hath suppressed in night, 

To none communicable in Earth or Heaven : 

Enough is left besides to search and know. 

But knowledge is as food, and needs no less 

Her temperance over appetite, to know 

In measure what the mind may well contain; 

Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns 

Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind. 130 

"Know then that after Lucifer from Heaven 
(So call him, brighter once amidst the host 
Of Angels than that star the stars among) 
Fell with his flaming legions through the Deep 
Into his place, and the great Son returned 
Victorious with his Saints, the omnipotent 
Eternal Father from his throne beheld 
Their multitude, and to his Son thus spake : 

"'At least our envious foe hath failed, who thought 
All like himself rebellious ; by whose aid 140 

This inaccessible high strength, the seat 
Of Deity supreme, us dispossessed, 
He trusted to have seized, and into fraud 
Drew many whom their place knows here no more : 
Yet far the greater part have kept, I see, 
Their station ; Heaven, yet populous, retains 
Number sufficient to possess her realms 
Though wide, and this high temple to frequent 
With ministeries due and solemn rites. 
But lest his heart exalt him in the harm 150 

Already done, to have dispeopled Heaven 
My damage fondly deemed I can repair 
That detriment, if such it be to lose 
Self-lost, and in a moment will create 


| Another world, out of one man a race 
j| Of men innumerable, there to dwell, 
v Not here, till, by degrees of merit raised, 

They open to themselves at length the way 

Up hither, under long obedience tried, 

And Earth be changed to Heaven, and Heaven to Earth, 160 

One kingdom, joy and union without end. 

Meanwhile inhabit lax, ye Powers of Heaven; 

And thou, my Word, begotten Son, by thee 

This I perform ; speak thou, and be it done ! 

My overshadowing Spirit and might with thee 

I send along ; ride forth, and bid the Deep 

Within appointed bounds be Heaven and Earth; 

Boundless the Deep, because I am who fill 

Infinitude; nor vacuous the space, 

Though I uncircumscribed myself retire, 170 

And put not forth my goodness, which is free 

To act or not : Necessity and Chance 

Approach not me, and what I will is Fate.' 

"So spake the Almighty, and to what he spake 

His Word, the Filial Godhead, gave effect. 

Immediate are the acts of God, more swift 

Than time or motion, but to human ears 

Cannot without process of speech be told, 

So told as earthly notion can receive. 

Great triumph and rejoicing was in Heaven, 180 

When such was heard declared the Almighty's will; 

Glory they sung to the Most High, good-will 

To future men, and in their dwellings peace; 

Glory to Him whose just avenging ire 

Had driven out the ungodly from his sight 

And the habitations of the just; to Him 

Glory and praise whose wisdomJiad ordained 

BOOK VII. 199 

Good out of evil to create; instead 

Of""pirits malign, a better race to bring 
1 Into their vacant room, and thence diffuse 190 

I His good to worlds and ages infinite. 

"So sang the Hierarchies. Meanwhile the Son 

On his great expedition now appeared, 
f*Girt with omnipotence, with radiance crowned 
\^Of majesty divine, sapience and love 

Immense; and all his Father in him shone. 

About his chanoT~numberless wefe poured 

Cherub and Seraph, Potentates and Thrones, 

And Virtues, winged Spirits, and chariots winged 

From the armoury of God, where stand of old 200 

Myriads, between two brazen mountains lodged 

Against a solemn day, harnessed at hand, 

Celestial equipage; and now came forth 

Spontaneous, for within them Spirit lived, 

Attendant on their Lord. Heaven opened wide 

Her ever-during gates, harmonious sound 

On golden hinges moving, to let forth 

The King of Glory, in his powerful Word 

And Spirit coming to create new worlds. 

On Heavenly ground they stood, and from the shore 210 

They viewed the vast immeasurable Abyss, 

Outrageous as a sea, dark, wasteful, wild, 

Up from the bottom turned by furious winds 

And surging waves, as mountains, to assault 

Heaven's highth, and with the centre mix the pole. 
" * Silence, ye troubled waves, and, thou Deep, peace ! ' 

Said then the omnific Word : ' your discord end ! ' 

Nor stayed; but, on the wings of Cherubim 

Uplifted, in paternal glory rode 

Far into Chaos and the World unborn; 220 


For Chaos heard his voice. Him all his train 
Followed in bright procession, to behold 
Creation, and the wonders of his might. 
Then stayed the fervid wheels and in his hand 
He took the golden compasses, prepared 
In God's eternal store, to circumscribe 
This Universe, and all created things. 
One foot he centred, and the other turned 
Round through the vast profundity obscure, 
And said, ' Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds ; 230 
This be thy just circumference, O World ! ' 
Thus God the heaven created, thus the Earth, 
Matter unformed and void. Darkness profound 
Covered the Abyss; but on the watery calm 
His brooding wings the Spirit of God outspread, 
And vital virtue infused, and vital warmth, 
Throughout the fluid mass, but downward purged 
The black, tartareous, cold, infernal dregs, 
Adverse to life; then founded, then conglobed 
Like things to like, the rest to several place 240 

Disparted, and between spun out the air, 
And Earth, self-balanced, on her centre hung. 
/" "'Let there be light!' said God; and forthwith light 
/ Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure, 

Sprung from the Deep, and from her native east 

To journey through the aery gloom began, 

Sphered in a radiant cloud, for yet the sun 

Was not; she in a cloudy tabernacle 

Sojourned the while. God saw the light was good ; 

And light from darkness by the hemisphere 250 

Divided : light the Day, and darkness Night, 

He named. Thus was the first day even and morn; 

Nor passed uncelebrated, nor unsung 

BOOK VII. 201 

By the celestial quires, when orient light 

Exhaling first from darkness they beheld, 

Birth-day of Heaven and Earth; with joy and shout 

The hollow universal orb they filled, 

And touched their golden harps, and hymning praised 

God and his works; Creator him they sung, 

Both when first evening was, and when first morn. 260 

"Again, God said, 'Let there be firmament 
Amid the waters, and let it divide 
The waters from the waters ! ' And God made 
The firmament, expanse of liquid, pure, 
Transparent, elemental air, diffused 
In circuit to the uttermost convex 
Of this great round partition firm and sure, 
The waters underneath from those above 
Dividing; for as Earth, so he the World 
Built on circumfluous waters calm, in wide 270 

Crystalline ocean, and the loud misrule 
Of Chaos far removed, lest fierce extremes 
Contiguous might distemper the whole frame : 
And heaven he named the firmament. So even 
And morning chorus sung the second day. 

"The Earth was formed, but, in the womb as yet 
Of waters, embryon, immature, involved, 
Appeared not; over all the face of Earth 
Main ocean flowed, not idle, but, with warm 
Prolific humour softening all her globe, 280 

Fermented the great mother to conceive, 
Satiate with genial moisture; when God said, 
'Be gathered now, ye waters under heaven, 
Into one place, and let dry land appear!' 
Immediately the mountains huge appear 
Emergent, and their broad bare backs upheave 


Into the clouds ; their tops ascend the sky. 

So high as heaved the tumid hills, so low 

Down sunk a hollow bottom, broad and deep, 

Capacious bed of waters; thither they 290 

Hasted with glad precipitance, uprolled, 

As drops on dust conglobing from the dry; 

Part rise in crystal wall, or ridge direct, 

For haste; such flight the great command impressed 

On the swift floods. As armies at the call 

Of trumpet (for of armies thou hast heard) 

Troop to the standard, so the watery throng, 

Wave rolling after wave, where way they found : 

If steep, with torrent rapture, ' if through plain, 

Soft-ebbing; nor withstood them rock or hill; 300 

But they, or underground, or circuit wide 

With serpent error wandering, found their way, 

And on the washy ooze deep channels wore; 

Easy, ere God had bid the ground be dry, 

All but within those banks where rivers now 

Stream, and perpetual draw their humid train. 

The dry land Earth, and the great receptacle 

Of congregated waters he called seas; 

And saw that it was good, and said, 'Let the Earth 

Put forth the verdant grass, herb yielding seed, 310 

And fruit-tree yielding fruit after her kind, 

Whose seed is in herself upon the Earth ! ' 

He scarce had said when the bare Earth, till then 

Desert and bare, unsightly, unadorned, 

Brought forth the tender grass, whose verdure clad 

Her universal face with pleasant green ; 

Then herbs of every leaf, that sudden flowered, 

Opening their various colours, and made gay 

Her bosom, smelling sweet; and, these scarce blown, 

BOOK VII. 203 

Forth flourished thick the clustering vine, forth crept 320 
The smelling gourd, up stood the corny reed 
Embattled in her field: add the humble shrub, 
And bush with frizzled hair implicit : last 
Rose, as in dance, the stately trees, and spread 
Their branches hung with copious fruit, or gemmed 
Their blossoms. With high woods the hills were crowned, 
With tufts the valleys and each fountain-side, 
With borders long the rivers; that Earth now 
Seemed like to Heaven, a seat where gods might dwell, 
Or wander with delight, and love to haunt . 330 

Her sacred shades; though God had yet not rained 
Upon the Earth, and man to till the ground 
None was, but from the Earth a dewy mist 
Went up and watered all the ground, and each 
Plant of the field, which ere it was in the Earth 
God made, and every herb, before it grew 
On the green stem. God saw that it was good; 
So even and morn recorded the third day. 
I " Again the Almighty .spake, ' Let there be lights 
i High in the expanse of heaven, to divide 340 

The day from night; and let them be for signs, 
For seasons, and for days, and circling years; 
And let them be for lights, as I ordain 
Their office in the firmament of heaven, 
To give light on the Earth ! ' and it was so. 
And God made two great lights, great for their use 
To Man, the greater to have rule by day, 
The less by night, altern; and made the stars, 
And set them in the firmament of heaven 
To illuminate the Earth, and rule the day 350 

In their vicissitude, and rule the night, 
And light from darkness to divide. God saw, 


Surveying his great work, that it was good : 

For, of celestial bodies, first the sun 

A mighty sphere he framed, unlightsome first, 

Though of ethereal mould; then formed the moon 

Globose, and every magnitude of stars, 

And sowed with stars the heaven thick as a field. 

Of light by far the greater part he took, 

Transplanted from her cloudy shrine, and placed 360 

In the sun's orb, made porous to receive 

And drink the liquid light, firm to retain 

Her gathered beams, great palace now of light. 

Hither, as to their fountain, other stars 

Repairing, in their golden urns draw light, 

And hence the morning planet gilds her horns; 

By tincture or reflection they augment 

Their small peculiar, though, from human sight 

So far remote, with diminution seen. 

First in his east the glorious lamp was seen, 370 

Regent of day, and all the horizon round 

Invested with bright rays, jocund to run 

His longitude through heaven's high road; the grey 

Dawn, and the Pleiades, before him danced, 

Shedding sweet influence. Less bright the moon, 

But opposite in levelled west, was set, 

His mirror, with full face borrowing her light 

From him; for other light she needed none 

In that aspect, and still that distance keeps 

Till night; then in the east her turn she shines, 380 

Revolved on heaven's great axle, and her reign 

With thousand lesser lights dividual holds, 

With thousand thousand stars, that then appeared 

Spangling the hemisphere. Then first adorned 

With her bright luminaries, that set and rose, 

BOOK VII. 205 

Glad evening and glad morn crowned the fourth day. 

" And God said, ' Let the waters generate 
Reptile with spawn abundant, living soul ; 
And let fowl fly above the Earth, with wings 
Displayed on the open firmament of heaven ! ' 390 

And God created the great whales, and each 
Soul living, each that crept, which plenteously 
The waters generated by their kinds, 
And every bird of wing after his kind; 
And saw that it was good, and blessed them, saying, 
'Be fruitful, multiply, and in the seas, 
And lakes, and running streams, the waters fill; 
And let the fowl be multiplied on the Earth ! ' 
Forthwith the sounds and seas, each creek and bay, 
With fry innumerable swarm, and shoals 400 

Of fish that with their fins and shining scales 
Glide under the green wave in sculls that oft 
Bank the mid-sea. Part, single or with mate, 
Graze the sea-weed, their pasture, and through groves 
Of coral stray, or, sporting with quick glance, 
Show to the sun their waved coats dropt with gold; 
Or, in their pearly shells at ease, attend 
Moist nutriment, or under rocks their food 
In jointed armour watch; on smooth the seal 
And bended dolphins play; part, huge of bulk, 410 

Wallowing unwieldy, enormous in their gait, 
Tempest the ocean. There leviathan, 
Hugest of living creatures, on the deep 
Stretched like a promontory, sleeps or swims, 
And seems a moving land, and at his gills 
Draws in, and at his trunk spouts out, a sea. 
Meanwhile the tepid caves, and fens, and shores, 
Their brood as numerous hatch from the egg, that soon, 


Bursting with kindly rupture, forth disclosed 
Their callow young ; but feathered soon and fledge 420 
They summed their pens, and, soaring the air sublime, 
With clang despised the ground, under a cloud 
In prospect. There the eagle and the stork 
On cliffs and cedar-tops their eyries build. 
Part loosely wing the region ; part more wise, 
In common, ranged in figure, wedge their way, 
Intelligent of seasons, and set forth 
Their aery caravan, high over seas 
Flying, and over lands, with mutual wing 
Easing their flight; so steers the prudent crane 430 

Her annual voyage, borne on winds; the air 
Floats as they pass, fanned with unnumbered plumes. 
From branch to branch the smaller birds with song 
Solaced the woods, and spread their painted wings, 
Till even; nor then the solemn nightingale 
Ceased warbling, but all night tuned her soft lays. 
Others, on silver lakes and rivers, bathed 
Their downy breast; the swan, with arched neck 
Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows 
Her state with oary feet; yet oft they quit 440 

The dank, and, rising on stiff pennons, tower 
The mid aerial sky. Others on ground 
Walked firm : the crested cock whose clarion sounds 
The silent hours, and the other whose gay train 
Adorns him, coloured with the florid hue 
I Of rainbows and starry eyes. The waters thus 
IWith fish replenished, and the air with fowl, 
^Evening and morn solemnized the fifth day. 

"The sixth, and of Creation last, arose 
With evening harps and matin ; when God said, 450 

'Let the Earth bring forth soul living in her kind, 

BOOK VII. 207 

, Cattle, and creeping things, and beast of the Earth, 
Each in their kind ! ' The Earth obeyed, and straight, 
Opening her fertile womb, teemed at a birth 
' Innumerous living creatures, perfect forms, 
Limbed and full-grown. Out of the ground up rose, 
As from his lair, the wild beast, where he wons 
In forest wild, in thicket, brake, or den; 
Among the trees in pairs they rose, they walked; 
The cattle in the fields and meadows green : 460 

Those rare and solitary, these in flocks 
Pasturing at once, and in broad herds upsprung. 
The grassy clods now calved; now half appeared 
The tawny lion, pawing to get free 
His hinder parts, then springs, as broke from bonds. 
And rampant shakes his brinded mane; the ounce, 
The libbard, and the tiger, as the mole 
Rising, the crumbled earth above them threw 
In hillocks; the swift stag from underground 
Bore up his branching head ; scarce from his mould 470 
Behemoth, biggest born .of earth, upheaved 
His vastness; fleeced the flocks and bleating rose, 
As plants ; ambiguous between sea and land, 
The river-horse and scaly crocodile. 
At once came forth whatever creeps the ground, 
Insect or worm. Those waved their limber fans 
For wings, and smallest lineaments exact 
In all the liveries decked of summer's pride, 
With spots of gold and purple, azure and green ; 
These as a line their long dimension drew, 480 

Streaking the ground with sinuous trace : not all 
Minims of nature; some of serpent kind, 
Wondrous in length and corpulence, involved 
Their snaky folds, and added wings. First crept 


The parsimonious emmet, provident 

Of future, in small room large heart enclosed; 

Pattern of just equality perhaps 

Hereafter, joined in her popular tribes 

Of commonalty. Swarming next appeared 

The female bee, that feeds her husband drone 490 

Deliciously, and builds her waxen cells 

With honey stored. The rest are numberless, 

And thou their natures know'st, and gav'st them names, 

Needless to thee repeated; nor unknown 

The serpent, subtlest beast of all the field, 

Of huge extent sometimes, with brazen eyes 

And hairy mane terrific, though to thee 

Not noxious, but obedient at thy call. 

"Now Heaven in all her glory shone, and rolled 
Her motions, as the great First Mover's hand 500 

First wheeled their course; Earth in her rich attire 
Consummate lovely smiled ; air, water, earth, 
By fowl, fish, beast, was flown, was swum, was walked, 
Frequent; and of the sixth day yet remained. 
There wanted yet the master-work, the end 
Of all yet done ; a creature who, not prone 
And brute as other creatures, but endued 
With sanctity of reason, might erect 
Hisstature, and upright with front serene 
Qovern the rest, selfJmowjng, and from thence 510 

Magnanimous to correspond with Heaven, 

iteful to acknowledge whence his good 
inds; thither with heart, and voice, and eyes, 
Directed in devotion, to adore 
And worship God supreme, who made him chief 
Of all his works. Therefore the omnipotent 
Eternal Father (for where is not he 

BOOK VII. 209 

Present ?) thus to his Son audibly spake : 

" ' Let us make now Man in our image, Man 

In our similitude, and let them rule 520 

jOver the fish and fowl of sea and air, 
1 Beast of the field, and over all the Earth, 

And every creeping thing that creeps the ground! 

This said, he_ formed thee, Adam, thee, O Man, 

Dust j)f the ground, and in thy nostrils breathed 

The breath of life ; in Jtus._Qwn image he 

Created thee, in the image of God 

Express, and thou becanVst a. living soul. 

Male he created thee, but thy consort 

Femalegforrace ; then blessed mankind, and said, 530 

* BefruiSuIfmultiply, and fill the Earth; 

Subdue it, and throughout dominion hold 

Over fish of the sea, and fowl of the air, 

And every living thing that moves on the Earth ! ' 

Wherever thus created (for no place 

Is yet distinct by name), thence, as thou know'st, 

He brought thee into this delicious grove, 

This garden, planted with the trees of God, 

Delectable both to behold and taste ; 

And freely all their pleasant fruit for food 540 

Gave thee : all sorts are here that all the Earth yields, 

Variety without end; but of the Tree 

Whichjasted works -knowledge of good and evil 

Thou may*striQt^ in the day__jfchou eat!t, than diest;. 

Death is fHe^penalty imposed; beware, 

And govern well thy appetite, lest. Sin 

Surprise thee, and her black attendant, Death. 
"Here finished he, and all that he had made 

Viewed, and behold ! all was entirely good. 

So even and morn accomplished the sixth day; 550 

P. L. 


Yet not till the Creator, from his work 
Desisting, though unwearied, up returned, 
Up to the Heaven of Heavens, his high abode, 
Thence to behold this new-created World, 
The addition of his empire how it showed 
In prospect from his throne, how good, how fair, 
Answering his great idea. Up he rode, 
Followed with acclamation and the sound 
Symphonious of ten thousand harps, that tuned 
Angelic harmonies. The Earth, the air 560 

Resounded (thou remember'st, for thou heard'st), 
jThe heavens and all the constellations rung, 
The planets in their stations listening stood, 
While the bright pomp ascended jubilant. 
* Open, ye everlasting gates ! ' they sung ; 
' Open, ye Heavens, your living doors ! let in 
The great Creator, from his work returned 
Magnificent, his six days' work, a World ! 
Open, and henceforth oft; for God will deign 
To visit oft the dwellings of just men, 570 

Delighted, and with frequent intercourse 
Thither will send his winged messengers 
On errands of supernal grace.' So sung 
The glorious train ascending. He through Heaven, 
That opened wide her blazing portals, led 
To God's eternal house direct the way; 
A broad and ample road, whose dust is gold, 
And pavement stars, as stars to thee appear 
Seen in the Galaxy, that milky way 
Which nightly as a circling zone thou seest 580 

Powdered with stars. And now on Earth the seventh 
Evening arose in Eden, for the sun 
Was set, and twilight from the east came on, 

BOOK VII. 211 

Forerunning night ; when at the holy mount 

Of Heaven's high-seated top, the imperial throne 

Of Godhead, fixed for ever firm and sure, 

The Filial Power arrived, and sat him down 

With his great Father; for he also went 

Invisible, yet stayed (such privilege 

Hath Omnipresence), and the work ordained, 590 

Author and end of all things, and, from work 

Now resting, blessed and hallowed the seventh day, 

As resting on that day from all his work; 

But not in silence holy kept : the harp 

Had work and rested not; the solemn pipe, 

And dulcimer, all organs of sweet stop, 

All sounds on fret by string or golden wire, 

Tempered soft tunings, intermixed with voice 

Choral or unison; of incense clouds, 

Fuming from golden censers, hid the mount. 600 

Creation and the six days' acts they sung : 

* Great are thy works, Jehovah! infinite 

Thy power ! what thought can measure thee, or tongue 

Relate thee? greater now in thy return 

Than from the Giant-angels : thee that day 

Thy thunders magnified ; but to create 

Is greater than created to destroy. 

Who can impair thee, mighty King, or bound 

Thy empire? Easily the proud attempt 

Of Spirits apostate and their counsels vain 610 

Thou hast repelled, while impiously they thought 

Thee to diminish, and from thee withdraw 

The number of thy worshippers. Who seeks 

To lessen thee, against his purpose serves 

To manifest the more thy might; his evil 

Thou usest, and from thence creat'st more good. 



Witness this new-made World, another Heaven 

From Heaven-gate not far, founded in view 

On the clear hyaline, the glassy sea; 

Of amplitude almost immense, with stars 620 

Numerous, and every star perhaps a world 

Of destined habitation; but thou know'st 

Their seasons; among these the seat of Men, 

Earth, with her nether ocean circumfused, 

Their pleasant dwelling-place. Thrice happy Men, 

And sons of Men! whom God hath thus advanced, 

Created in his image, there to dwell 

And worship him, and in reward to rule 

Over his works, on earth, in sea, or air, 

And multiply a race of worshippers 630 

Holy and just; thrice happy, if they know 

Their happiness, and persevere upright ! ' 

"So sung they, and the Empyrean rung 
With halleluiahs. Thus was Sabbath kept. 
And thy request think now fulfilled, that asked 
How first this World and face of things began, 
And what before thy memory was done 
From the beginning, that posterity, 
Informed by thee, might know. If else thou seek'st 
Aught, not surpassing human measure, say." 640 



Adam inquires concerning celestial motions ; is doubtfully answered, 
and exhorted to search rather things more worthy of knowledge. 
Adam assents, and, still desirous to detain Raphael, relates to him 
what he remembered since his own creation : his placing in Paradise ; 
his talk with God concerning solitude and fit society; his first meeting 
and nuptials with Eve. His discourse with the Angel thereupon; who, 
after admonitions repeated, departs. 


THE Angel ended, and in Adam's ear 
So charming left his voice that he a while 
Thought him still speaking, still stood fixed to hear; 
Then, as new-waked, thus gratefully replied : 

"What thanks sufficient, or what recompense 
Equal, have I to render thee, divine 
Historian, who thus largely hast allayed 
The thirst I had of knowledge, and vouchsafed 
This friendly condescension to relate 
Things else by me unsearchable, now heard 
With wonder, but delight, and, as is due, 
With glory attributed to the high 
Creator? Something yet of doubt remains, 
Which only thy solution can resolve. 
When I behold this goodly frame, this World 
Of Heaven and Earth consisting, and compute 
Their magnitudes; this Earth, a spot, a grain, 
An atom, with the firmament compared 
And all her numbered stars, that seem to roll 
Spaces incomprehensible (for such 20 

Their distance argues, and their swift return 
Diurnal) merely to officiate light 


Round this opacous Earth, this punctual spot, 

One day and night, in all their vast survey 

Useless besides; reasoning I oft admire 

How Nature, wise and frugal, could commit 

Such disproportions, with superfluous hand 

So many nobler bodies to create, 

Greater so manifold, to this one use, 

For aught appears, and on their orbs impose 30 

Such restless revolution day by day 

Repeated, while the sedentary Earth, 

That better might with far less compass move, 

Served by more noble than herself, attains 

Her end without least motion, and receives, 

As tribute, such a sumless journey brought 

Of incorporeal speed, her warmth and light : 

Speed, to describe whose swiftness number fails." ^ 

So spake our sire, and by his countenance seemed 
Entering on studious thoughts abstruse ; which Eve 40 
Perceiving, where she sat retired in sight, 
With lowliness majestic from her seat, 
And grace that won who saw to wish her stay, 
Rose, and went forth among her fruits and flowers, 
To visit how they prospered, bud and bloom, 
Her nursery; they at her coming sprung, 
And, touched by her fair tendance, gladlier grew. 
Yet went she not as not with such discourse 
Delighted, or not capable her ear 

Of what was high : such pleasure she reserved, 50 

Adam relating, she sole auditress; 
Her husband the relater she preferred 
Before the Angel, and of him to ask 
Chose rather; he, she knew, would intermix 
Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute 


With conjugal caresses : from his lip 

Not words alone pleased her. Oh, when meet now 

Such pairs, in love and mutual honour joined? 

With goddess-like demeanour forth she went, 

Not unattended; for on her as queen 60 

A pomp of winning Graces waited still, 

And from about her shot darts of desire 

Into all eyes, to wish her still in sight. 

And Raphael now to Adam's doubt proposed 

Benevolent and facile thus replied : 

"To ask or search I blame thee not; for heaven 
Is as the Book of God before thee set, 
Wherein to read his wondrous works, and learn 
His seasons, hours, or days, or months, or years: 
This to attain, whether heaven move or Earth 70 

Imports not, if thou reckon right; the rest 
From Man or Angel the great Architect 
Did wisely to conceal, and not divulge 
His secrets, to be scanned by them who ought 
Rather admire. Or if they list to try 
Conjecture, he his fabric of the heavens 
Hath left to their disputes, perhaps to move 
His laughter at their quaint opinions wide 
Hereafter, when they come to model heaven, 
And calculate the stars; how they will wield 80 

The mighty frame; how build, unbuild, contrive, 
To save appearances; how gird the sphere 
With centric and eccentric scribbled o'er, 
Cycle and epicycle, orb in orb. 
Already by thy reasoning this I guess, 
Who art to lead thy offspring, and supposest 
That bodies bright and greater should not serve 
The less not bright, nor heaven such journeys run, 


Earth sitting still, when she alone receives 

The benefit. Consider, first, that great 90 

Or bright infers not excellence : the Earth, 

Though, in comparison of heaven, so small, 

Nor glistering, may of solid good contain 

More plenty than the sun that barren shines, 

Whose virtue on itself works no effect, 

But in the fruitful Earth; there first received, 

His beams, unactive else, their vigour find. 

Yet not to Earth are those bright luminaries 

Officious, but to thee, Earth's habitant. 

And for the heaven's wide circuit, let it speak 100 

The Maker's high magnificence, who built 

So spacious, and his line stretched out so far, 

That Man may know he dwells not in his own ; 

An edifice too large for him to fill, 

Lodged in a small partition, and the rest 

Ordained for uses to his Lord best known. 

The swiftness of those circles attribute, 

Though numberless, to his omnipotence, 

That to corporeal substances could add 

Speed almost spiritual. Me thou think'st not slow, no 

Who since the morning-hour set out from Heaven 

Where God resides, and ere mid-day arrived 

In Eden, distance inexpressible 

By numbers that have name. But this I urge, 

Admitting motion in the heavens, to show 

Invalid that which thee to doubt it moved; 

Not that I so affirm, though so it seem 

To thee who hast thy dwelling here on Earth. 

God, to remove his ways from human sense, 

Placed heaven from Earth so far, that earthly sight, 120 

If it presume, might err in things too high, 


And no advantage gain. What if the sun 

Be centre to the World, and other stars, 

By his attractive virtue and their own 

Incited, dance about him various rounds? 

Their wandering course, now high, now low, then hid, 

Progressive, retrograde, or standing still, 

In six thou seest; and what if seventh to these 

The planet Earth, so steadfast though she seem, 

Insensibly three different motions move ? 130 

Which else to several spheres thou must ascribe, 

Moved contrary with thwart obliquities, 

Or save the sun his labour, and that swift 

Nocturnal and diurnal rhomb supposed, 

Invisible else above all stars, the wheel 

Of day and night ; which needs not thy belief, 

If Earth, industrious of herself, fetch day, 

Travelling east, and with her part averse 

From the sun's beam meet night, her other part 

Still luminous by his ray. What if that light, 140 

Sent from her through the wide transpicuous air, 

To the terrestrial moon be as a star, 

Enlightening her by day, as she by night 

This Earth reciprocal, if land be there, 

Fields and inhabitants? Her spots thou seest 

As clouds, and clouds may rain, and rain produce 

Fruits in her softened soil, for some to eat 

Allotted there; and other suns, perhaps, 

With their attendant moons, thou wilt descry, 

Communicating male and female light, 150 

Which two great sexes animate the World, 

Stored in each orb perhaps with some that live. 

For such vast room in Nature unpossessed 

By living soul, desert and desolate, 


Only to shine, yet scarce to contribute 

Each orb a glimpse of light, conveyed so far 

Down to this habitable, which returns 

Light back to them, is obvious to dispute. 

But whether thus these things, or whether not 

Whether the sun, predominant in heaven, 160 

Rise on the Earth, or Earth rise on the sun; 

He from the east his flaming road begin, 

Or she from west her silent course advance 

With inoffensive pace that spinning sleeps 

On her soft axle, while she paces even, 

And bears thee soft with the smooth air along 

Solicit not thy thoughts with matters hid : 

Leave them to God above; him serve and fear. 

Of other creatures, as him pleases best, 

Wherever placed, let him dispose; joy thou 170 

In what he gives to thee, this Paradise 

And thy fair Eve; Heaven is for thee too high 

To know what passes there ; be lowly wise ; 

Think only what concerns thee and thy being; 

Dream not of other worlds, what creatures there 

Live, in what state, condition, or degree; 

Contented that thus far hath been revealed 

Not of Earth only, but of highest Heaven." 

To whom thus Adam, cleared of doubt, replied: - 
"How fully hast thou satisfied me, pure 180 

Intelligence of Heaven, Angel serene, 
And, freed from intricacies, taught to live 
The easiest way, nor with perplexing thoughts 
To interrupt the sweet of life, from which 
God hath bid dwell far off all anxious cares, 
And not molest us, unless we ourselves 
Seek them with wandering thoughts, and notions vain. 


But apt the mind or fancy is to rove 

Unchecked ; and of her roving is no end, 

Till warned, or by experience taught, she learn 190 

That not to know at large of things remote 

From use, obscure and subtle, but to know 

That which before us lies in daily life, 

Is the prime wisdom : what is more is fume, 

Or emptiness, or fond impertinence, 

And renders us in things that most concern 

Unpractised, unprepared, and still to seek. 

*~ Therefore from this high pitch let us descend 
A lower flight, and speak of things at hand 
Usefulj) whence haply mention may arise *~ "*" 200 
Ofsomething not unseasonable to ask, 
By sufferance, and thy wonted favour, deigned. 
Thee I have heard relating what was done 
Ere my remembrance; now hear me relate 
My story, which perhaps thou hast not heard. 
And day is yet not spent jj till L then thou seest 
How subtly to detain thee I devise, 
Inviting thee to hear while I relate 

JFond, were it not in hope of thy repf^T^ 

I For while I sit with thee, I seem in Heaven; 210 

And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear 
Than fruits of palm-tree, pleasantest to thirst 
And hunger both, from labour, at the hour 
Of sweet repast : they satiate, and soon fill, 
Though pleasant ; but thy words, with grace divine 
Imbued, bring to their sweetness no satiety."_J 

To whom thus Raphael answered, Heavenly meek: 
"Nor are thy lips ungraceful, Sire of Men, 
Nor tongue ineloquent ; for God on thee 
Abundantly his gifts hath also poured, 220 


Inward and outward both, his image fair: 

Speaking or mute, all comeliness and grace 

Attends thee, and each word, each motion, forms. 

Nor less think we in Heaven of thee on Earth 

Than of our fellow-servant, and inquire 

Gladly into the ways of God with Man ; 

For God, we see, hath honoured thee, and set 

On Man his equal love. Say therefore on; 

For I that day was absent, as befell, 

Bound on a voyage uncouth and obscure, 230 

Far on excursion toward the gates of Hell, 

Squared in full legion (such command we had), 

To see that none thence issued forth a spy 

Or enemy, while God was in his work; 

Lest he, incensed at such eruption bold, 

Destruction with Creation might have mixed: 

Not that they durst without his leave attempt; 

But us he sends upon his high behests 

For state, as sovran King, and to inure- 

Our prompt obedience. Fast we found, fast shut, 240 

The dismal gates, and barricadoed strong; 

But, long ere our approaching, heard within 

Noise, other than the sound of dance or song; 

Torment, and loud lament, and furious rage. 

Glad we returned up to the coasts of light 

Ere Sabbath-evening; so we had in charge. 

But thy relation now; for I attend, 

Pleased with thy words no less than thou with mine," 

So spake the godlike Power, and thus our sire: 
"For Man to tell how human life began 250 

Is hard; for who himself beginning knew? 
Desire with thee still longer to converse 
Induced me. As new-waked from soundest sleep, 


Soft on the flowery herb I found me laid, 

In balmy sweat, which with his beams the sun 

Soon dried, and on the reeking moisture fed. 

Straight toward Heaven my wondering eyes I turned, 

And gazed a while the ample sky, till raised 

By quick instinctive motion up I sprung, 

As thitherward endeavouring, and upright 260 

Stood on my feet. About me round I saw 

Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains, 

And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by these, 

Creatures that lived and moved, and walked or flew, 

Birds on the branches warbling ; all things smiled ; 

With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflowed. 

Myself I then perused, and limb by limb 

Surveyed, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran 

With supple joints, as lively vigour led; 

But who I was, or where, or from what cause, 270 

Knew not. To speak I tried, and forthwith spake; 

My tongue obeyed, and readily could name 

Whate'er I saw. 'Thou Sun,' said I, 'fair light, 

And thou enlightened Earth, so fresh and gay, 

Ye hills and dales, ye rivers, woods, and plains, 

And ye that live and move, fair creatures, tell, 

Tell, if ye saw, how came I thus, how here 1 

Not of myself; by some great Maker then, 

In goodness and in power pre-eminent. 

Tell me, how may I know him, how adore,, u^ 280 

From whom I have that thus I move and live, 

And feel that I am happier than I know ! ' 

While thus I called, and strayed I knew not whither, 

From where I first drew air, and first beheld 

This happy light, when answer none returned, 

On a green shady bank, profuse of flowers, 



Pensive I sat me down; there gentle Asleep 

First found me, and with soft oppression seized 

My drowsed sense, untroubled, though I thought 

I then was passing to my former state 290 

Insensible, and forthwith to dissolve : 

When suddenly stood at my head a dream, 

Whose inward apparition gently moved 

My fancy to believe I yet had being, 

And lived. One came, methought, of shape divine, 

And said, 'Thy mansion wants thee, Adam; rise, 

First Man, of men innumerable ordained 

First father! called by thee, I come thy guide 

To the garden of bliss, thy seat prepared.' 

So saying, by the hand he took me, raised, 300 

And over fields and waters, as in air 

Smooth sliding without step, last led me up 

A woody mountain, whose high top was plain, 

A circuit wide, enclosed, with goodliest trees 

Planted, with walks and bowers, that what I saw 

Of Earth before scarce pleasant seemed. Each tree 

Loaden with fairest fruit, that hung to the eye 

Tempting, stirred in me sudden appetite 

To pluck and eat; whereat I waked, and found 

Before mine eyes all real, as the dream 310 

Had lively shadowed. Here had new begun 

My wandering, had not He, who was my guide 

Up hither, from among the trees appeared, 

Presence Divine. Rejoicing, but with awe, 

Sn adoration at his feet I fell 
iubmiss. He reared me, and, 'Whom thou sought'st I am,' 
Said mildly, ' Author of all this thou seest 
Above, or round about thee, or beneath. 
This Paradise I give thee; count it thine 



To till and keep, and of the fruit to eat : 320 

Of every tree that in the garden grows 

P^at freely with glad heart; fear here no dearth. 

But of the Tree whose operation brings 

Knowledge of good and ill, which I have set, 

The pledge of thy obedience and thy faith, 

Amid the garden by the Tree of Life, 

Remember what I warn thee, shun to taste, 

And shun the bitter consequence : for know, 

The day thou eat'st thereof, my sole command 

Transgressed, inevitably thou shalt die, 330 

From that day mortal, and this happy state 

Shalt lose, expelled from hence into a world 

Of woe and sorrow.' Sternly he pronounced 

The rigid interdiction, which resounds 

Yet dreadful in mine ear, though in my choice 

Not to incur; but soon his clear aspect 

Returned, and gracious purpose thus renewed : 

'Not only these fair bounds, but all the Earth 

To thee and to thy race- I give; as lords 

Possess it, and all things that therein live, 340 

Or live in sea or air beast, fish, and fowl. 

In sign whereof, each bird and beast behold 

After their kinds; I bring them to receive 

From thee their names, and pay thee fealty 

With low subjection; understand the same 

Of fish within their watery residence, 

Not hither summoned, since they cannot change 

Their element to draw the thinner air.' 

As thus he spake, each bird and beast behold 

Approaching two and two; these cowering low 350 

With blandishment; each bird stooped on his wing. 

I named them as they passed, and understood 

P. L. 15 


Their nature; with such knowledge God endued 
|" My sudden apprehension. But in these 
jn I found not what, methought, I wanted still, 

L-And to the Heavenly Vision thus presumed : 

" 'O, by what name for thou above all these, 
Above mankind, or aught than mankind higher, 
Surpassest far my naming how may I 
Adore thee, Author of this Universe, 360 

And all this good to Man, for whose well-being 
So amply, and with hands so liberal, 

/Thou hast provided all things? But with me 
^rl see not who partakes. In solitude 

1 What happiness ? who can enjoy alone, 

\^Or, all enjoying, what contentment find?' 
Thus I presumptuous ; and the Vision bright, 
As with a smile more brightened, thus replied : 

"'What calPst thou solitude? Is not the Earth 
With various living creatures, and the air, 370 

Replenished, and all these at thy command 
To come and play before thee? Know'st thou not 
Their language and their ways? They also know, 
And reason not contemptibly; with these 
Find pastime, and bear rule; thy realm is large.' 
So spake the universal Lord, and seemed 
So ordering. I, with leave of speech implored, 
And humble deprecation, thus replied : 

" ' Let not my words offend thee, Heavenly Power ! 
My Maker, be propitious while I speak. 380 

'Hast thou not made me here thy substitute, 

v And these inferior far beneath me set? 
Among unequals what society 
Can sort, what harmony or true delight? 
Which must be mutual, in proportion due 


Given and received; but in disparity, 
The one intense, the other still remiss, 
Cannot well suit with either, but soon prove 
Tedious alike. Of fellowship I speak, 
:Such as I seek, fit to participate 390 

All rational delight, wherein the brute 
Cannot be human consort : they rejoice 
?Each with their kind, lion with lioness ; 
'So fitly them in pairs thou hast combined; 
Much less can bird with beast, or fish with fowl, 
So well converse, nor with the ox the ape ; 
Worse then can man with beast, and least of all.' 

"Whereto the Almighty answered, not displeased: 
*A nice and subtle happiness, I see, 
Thou to thyself proposest, in the choice 400 

Of thy associates, Adam, and wilt taste 
No pleasure, though in pleasure, solitary. 
What think'st thou then of me, and this my state? 
Seem I to thee sufficiently possessed 
Of happiness, or not? who am alone 
From all eternity; for none I know 
Second to me or like, equal much less. 
How have I then with whom to hold converse, 
Save with the creatures which I made, and those 
To me inferior, infinite descents 410 

Beneath what other creatures are to thee?' 

" He ceased ; I lowly answered : * To attain 
The highth and depth of thy eternal ways 
All human thoughts come short, Supreme of things ! 
Thou in thyself art perfect, and in thee 
Is no deficience found; not so is Man, 
But in degree the cause of his desire 
By conversation with his like to help 



Or solace his defects. No need that thou 

Should'st propagate, already infinite, 420 

And through all numbers absolute, though One; 

But Man by number is to manifest 

i His single imperfection, and beget 

| Like of his like, his image multiplied, 
In unity defective ; which requires 
Collateral love, and dearest amity. 
Thou, in thy secrecy although alone, 
Best with thyself accompanied, seek'st not 
Social communication; yet, so pleased, 
Canst raise thy creature to what highth thou wilt 430 
Of union or communion, deified; 
I, by conversing, cannot these erect 
From prone, nor in their ways complacence find/ 
Thus I emboldened spake, and freedom used 
Permissive, and acceptance found; which gained 
This answer from the gracious Voice Divine : 

" ' Thus far to try thee, Adam, I was pleased, 
And find thee knowing not of beasts alone, 
Which thou hast rightly named, but of thyself, 
Expressing well the spirit within thee free, 440 

My image, not imparted to the brute ; 
Whose fellowship therefore, unmeet for thee, 
Good reason was thou freely shouldst dislike; 
And be so minded still. I, ere thou spak'st, 
Knew it not good for Man to be alone, 

j And no such company as then thou saw'st 
\ Intended thee for trial only brought, 

{ To see how thou couldst judge of fit and meet. 
What next I bring shall please thee, be assured, 
.JThy likeness, thy fit help, thy other self, 45 

Thy wish exactly to thy heart's desire.' 



"He ended, or I heard no more; for now 
My earthly by his Heavenly overpowered, 
Which it had long stood under, strained to the highth 
In that celestial colloquy sublime, 
As with an object that excels the sense, 
Dazzled and spent, sunk down, and sought repair 
Of sleep, which instantly fell on me, called 
By Nature as in aid, and closed mine eyes. 
Mine eyes he closed, but open left the cell 460 

Of fancy, my internal sight ; by which, 
Abstract as in a trance, methotight I saw, 
Though sleeping, where I lay, and saw the Shape 
j Still glorious before whom awake I stood; 
Who stooping opened my left side, and took 
From thence a rib, with cordial spirits warm, 
And life-blood streaming fresh ; wide was the wound, 
But suddenly with flesh filled up and healed. 
The rib he formed and fashioned with his hands; 
Under his forming hands a creature grew, 470 

Man-like, but different sex, so lovely fair 
That what seemed fair in all the world seemed now 
Mean, or in her summed up, in her contained 
And in her looks, which from that time infused 
. Sweetness into my heart unfelt before, 
And into all things from her air inspired 
The spirit of love and amorous delight. 
She disappeared, and left me dark; I waked 
To find her, or for ever to deplore 

Her loss, and other pleasures all abjure : 480 

When, out of hope, behold her not far off, 
Such as I saw her in my dream, adorned 
With what all Earth or Heaven could bestow 
To make her amiable. On she came, 


Led by her Heavenly Maker, though unseen, 

^And guided by his voice, nor uninformed 
, Of nuptial sanctity and marriage rites. 

Grace was in all her steps, Heaven in her eye, 

In every gesture dignity and love. 

I, overjoyed, could not forbear aloud : 490 

" ' This turn hath made amends ; thou hast fulfilled 
Thy words, Creator bounteous and benign, 
Giver of all things fair, but fairest this 
Of all thy gifts ! nor enviest. I now see 
Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, my self 
Before me ; Woman is her name, of Man 
Extracted ; for this cause he shall forgo 
Father and mother, and to his wife adhere, 
And they shall be one flesh, one heart, one soul.' 
/ "She heard me thus; and, though divinely brought, ^500 
Yet innocence and virgin modesty, 
Her virtue and the conscience of her worth, 
That would be wooed, and not unsought be won, 
Not obvious, not obtrusive, but retired, 
The more desirable or, to say all, 
Nature herself, though pure of sinful thought 
Wrought in her so, that, seeing me, she turned; 
I followed her; she what was honour knew, 
And with obsequious majesty approved 

My pleaded reason. To the nuptial bower 510 

, \li I led her blushing like the Morn ; all Heaven, 
And happy constellations, on that hour 

,.Shed their selectest influence; the Earth 
Gave sign of gratulation, and each hill; 
Joyous the birds ; fresh gales and gentle airs 
Whispered it to the woods, and from their wings 
Flung rose, flung odours from the spicy shrub, 


Disporting, till the amorous bird of night 

Sung spousal, and bid haste the evening star 

On his hill-top to light the bridal lamp. 520 

"Thus have I told thee all my state, and brought 
My story to the sum of earthly bliss 
Which I enjoy, and must confess to find 
In all things else delight indeed, but such 
As, used or not, works in the mind no change, 
Nor vehement desire these delicacies 
I mean of taste, sight, smell, herbs, fruits, and flowers, 
Walks, and the melody of birds : but here, 
Far otherwise, transported I behold, 

Transported touch; here passion first I felt, 530 

Commotion strange, in all enjoyments else 
Superior and unmoved, here only weak 
Against the charm of beauty's powerful glance. 
Or Nature failed in me, and left some part 
Not proof enough such object to sustain, 
Or, from my side subducting, took perhaps 
More than enough; at least on her bestowed 
Too much of ornament, in outward show 
Elaborate, of inward less exact. 

,, <C For well I understand in the prime end 540 

Of Nature her the inferior, in the mind 
And inward faculties, which most excel; 
In outward also her resembling less 
His image who made both, and less expressing 
The character of that dominion given 
O'er other creatures. Yet when I approach 
Her loveliness, so absolute she seems 
And in herself complete, so well to know 

Her own, that what she wills to do or say 

Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best : 550 

All higher Knowledge in her presence falls 


Degraded; Wisdom in discourse with her 
Loses discountenanced, and like Folly shows; 
Authority and Reason on her wait, 
As one intended first, not after made 
Occasionally; and to consummate all, 
Greatness of mind and nobleness their seat 
Build in her loveliest, and create an awe 
.About her, as a guard angelic placed." 

To whom the Angel, with contracted brow : 560 

"Accuse not Nature, she hath done her part; 
Do thou but thine, and be not diffident 
Of Wisdom ; she deserts thee not, if thou 
Dismiss not her, when most thou need'st her nigh, 
By attributing overmuch to things 
Less excellent, as thou thyself perceiv'st. 
For what admir'st thou, what transports thee so? 
An outside : fair, no doubt, and worthy well 
Thy cherishing, thy honouring, and thy love; 
Not thy subjection. Weigh with her thyself; 570 

Then value. Oft-times nothing profits more 
Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right, 
Well managed; of that skill the more thou know'st, 
The more she will acknowledge thee her head, 
And to realities yield all her shows: 
Made so adorn for thy delight the more, 
jSo awful, that with honour thou may'st love 
{ -> [Thy mate, who sees when thou art seen least wise. 
"But if the sense of touch, whereby mankind 
Is propagated, seem such dear delight 580 

Beyond all other, think the same vouchsafed 
To cattle and each beast; which would not be 
To them made common and divulged, if aught 
Therein enjoyed were worthy to subdue 
The soul of Man, or passion in him move. 


[What higher in her society thou find'st 
Attractive, human, rational, love still : 
In loving thou dost well; in passion not, 
Wherein true love consists not. Love refines 
I The thoughts, and heart enlarges; hath his seat 590 

I In Reason, and is judicious ; is the scale 
| By which to Heavenly love thou may'st ascend, 
Not sunk in carnal pleasure; for which cause 
^Among the beasts no mate for thee was found." $ 

To whom thus, half abashed, Adam replied : 
"Neither her outside formed so fair, nor aught 
In procreation common to all kinds 
(Though higher of the genial bed by far, 
And with mysterious reverence, I deem), 
So much delights me as those graceful acts, 600 

Those thousand decencies, that daily flow 
From all her words and actions, mixed with love 
And sweet compliance, which declare unfeigned 
Union of mind, or in us both one soul; 
Harmony to behold in. wedded pair 
More grateful than harmonious sound to the ear. 
Yet these subject not; I to thee disclose 
What inward thence I feel, not therefore foiled, 
Who meet with various objects, from the sense 
Variously representing, yet, still free, 610 

Approve the best, and follow what I approve. 
To love thou blam'st me not; >or love, thou say'st, 
Leads up to Heaven, is both the way and guide; 
Bear with me then, if lawful what I ask. 
Love not the Heavenly Spirits, and how their love 
Express they? by looks only, or do they mix 
Irradiance, virtual or immediate touch?" ~^> 

To whom the Angel, with a smile that glowed 
Celestial rosy-red, love's proper hue, 


Answered: "Let it suffice thee that thou know'st 620 

Js happy, and without love no happiness. 

Whatever pure thou in the body enjoy'st 

(And pure thou wert created) we enjoy 

In eminence, and obstacle find none 

Of membrane, joint, or limb, exclusive bars; 

Easier than air with air, if Spirits embrace, 

Total they mix, union of pure with pure 
' JDesiring, nor restrained conveyance need 

[As flesh to mix with flesh, or soul with soul. 

But I can now no more; the parting sun 630 

Beyond the Earth's green Cape and verdant Isles 
^esperean sets, my signal to depart. 

Be strong, live happy, and love ! but first of all 
; Him whom to love is to obey, and keep r 

clHis great command; take heed lest passion sway 

;Thy judgment to do aught which else free will 

Would not admit; thine and of all thy sons 

The weal or woe in thee is placed ; beware ! 

I in thy persevering shall rejoice, 

And all the Blest. Stand fast; to stand or fall, 640 

Free in thine own arbitrement it lies. 

Perfect within, no outward aid require; 

And all temptation to transgress repel." 
So saying, he arose ; whom Adam thus 

Followed with benediction : " Since to part, 

Go, Heavenly guest, Ethereal messenger, 

Sent from whose sovran goodness I adore! 

Gentle to me and affable hath been 

Thy condescension, and shall be honoured ever 

With grateful memory; thou to Mankind 650 

Be good and friendly still, and oft return ! " 
So parted they, the Angel up to Heaven 

From the thick shade, and Adam to his bower. 



Satan, having compassed the Earth, with meditated guile returns as 
a mist by night into Paradise ; enters into the Serpent sleeping. Adam 
and Eve in the morning go forth to their labours, which Eve proposes 
to divide in several places, each labouring apart: Adam consents not, 
alleging the danger, lest that enemy, of whom they were forewarned, 
should attempt her found alone. Eve, loth to be thought not circum- 
spect or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather desirous to make 
trial of her strength; Adam at last yields. The Serpent finds her alone : 
his subtle approach, first gazing, then speaking, with much flattery 
extolling Eve above all other creatures. Eve, wondering to hear the 
Serpent speak, asks how he attained to human speech and such under- 
standing, not till now ; the Serpent answers, that by tasting of a certain 
tree in the garden he attained both to speech and reason, till then void 
of both. Eve requires him to bring her to that tree, and finds it to be 
the Tree of Knowledge forbidden. The Serpent, now grown bolder, 
with many wiles and arguments induces her at length to eat ; she, 
pleased with the taste, deliberates a while whether to impart thereof to 
Adam or not; at last brings him of the fruit; relates what persuaded 
her to eat thereof. Adam, at first amazed, but perceiving her lost, 
resolves through vehemence of love to perish with her; and, extenuating 
the trespass, eats also of the fruit. The effects thereof in them both ; 
they seek to cover their nakedness ; then fall to variance and accusation 
of one another. 


NO more of talk where God or Angel-guest 
With Man, as with his friend, familiar used 
To sit indulgent, and with him partake 
Rural repast, permitting him the while 
Venial discourse unblamed. I now must change 
Those notes to tragic; foul distrust and breach 
Disloyal on the part of man, revolt 
And disobedience; on the part of Heaven, 
Now alienated, distance and distaste, 
Anger and just rebuke, and judgment given, 10 

That brought into this World a world of woe, 
Sin and her shadow Death, and Misery, 
Death's harbinger. Sad task ! yet argument 
Not less but more heroic than the wrath 
Of stern Achilles on his foe pursued 
Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage 
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespoused ; 
Or Neptune's ire, or Juno's, that so long 
Perplexed the Greek, and Cytherea's son: 
If answerable style I can obtain 20 

Of my celestial patroness, who deigns 
Her nightly visitation unimplored, 


And dictates to me slumbering, or inspires 

Easy my unpremeditated verse, 

Since first this subject for heroic song 

Pleased me, long choosing and beginning late, 

Not sedulous by nature to indite 

Wars, hitherto the only argument 

Heroic deemed, chief mastery to dissect 

With long and tedious havoc fabled knights 30 

In battles feigned (the better fortitude 

Of patience and heroic martyrdom 

Unsung), or to describe races and games, 

Or tilting furniture, imblazoned shields, 

Impresses quaint, caparisons and steeds, 

Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights 

At joust and tournament; then marshalled feast 

Served up in hall with sewers and seneshals: 

The skill of artifice or office mean ; 

Not that which justly gives heroic name 40 

To person or to poem. Me, of these 

Nor skilled nor studious, higher argument 

Remains, sufficient of itself to raise 

That name, unless an age too late, or cold 

Climate, or years, damp my intended wing 

Depressed ; and much they may, if all be mine, 

Not hers who brings it nightly to my ear. 

The sun was sunk, and after him the star 
Of Hesperus, whose office is to bring 
Twilight upon the Earth, short arbiter 50 

'Twixt day and night, and now from end to end 
Night's hemisphere had veiled the horizon round; 
When Satan, who late fled before the threats 
Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improved 
In meditated fraud and malice, bent 



On Man's destruction, maugre what might hap 

Of heavier on himself, fearless returned. 

By night he fled, and at midnight returned 

From compassing the Earth; cautious of day, 

Since Uriel, regent of the sun, descried 60 

His entrance, and forewarned the Cherubim 

That kept their watch. Thence, full of anguish, driven, 

The space of seven continued nights he rode 

With darkness ; thrice the equinoctial line 

He circled, four times crossed the car of Night 

From pole to pole, traversing each colure; 

\On the eighth returned, and on the coast averse 
From entrance or cherubic watch by stealth 
Found unsuspected way. There was a place 
(Now not, though sin, not time, first wrought the change) 70 
Where Tigris, at the foot of Paradise, 
Into a gulf shot under ground, till part 
Rose up a fountain by the Tree of Life. 
In with the river sunk, and with it rose, 
Satan, involved in rising mist; then sought 
Where to lie hid. Sea he had searched and land 
From Eden over Pontus, and the pool 
Maeotis, up beyond the river Ob ; 
Downward as far antarctic; and in length 
West from Orontes to the ocean barred 80 

At Darien, thence to the land where flows 
Ganges and Indus. Thus the orb he roamed 
With narrow search, and with inspection deep 
Considered every creature, which of all 
Most opportune might serve his wiles, and found 
The serpent subtlest beast of all the field. 
Him, after long debate, irresolute 
Of thoughts revolved, his final sentence chose 


Fit vessel, fittest imp of fraud, in whom 

To enter, and his dark suggestions hide 90 

From sharpest sight; for in the wily snake 

Whatever sleights none would suspicious mark, 

As from his wit and native subtlety 

Proceeding, which, in other beasts observed, 

Doubt might beget of diabolic power 

Active within beyond the sense of brute. 

Thus he resolved, but first from inward grief 

His bursting passion into plaints thus poured : 

" O Earth, how like to Heaven, if not preferred 
More justly, seat worthier of Gods, as built 100 

With second thoughts, reforming what was old ! 
For what God, after better, worse would build? 
Terrestrial Heaven, danced round by other Heavens 
That shine, yet bear their bright officious lamps, 
Light above light, for thee alone, as seems, 
In thee concentring all their precious beams 
Of sacred influence ! As God in Heaven 
Is centre, yet extends to all, so thou 
Centring receiv'st from all those orbs ; in thee, 
Not in themselves, all their known virtue appears no 
Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth 
Of creatures animate with gradual life 
Of growth, sense, reason, all summed up in Man. 
With what delight could I have walked thee round, 
If I could joy in aught, sweet interchange 
Of hill and valley, rivers, woods, and plains, 
Now land, now sea, and shores with forest crowned, 
Rocks, dens, and caves ! but I in none of these 
Find place or refuge; and the more I see 
Pleasures about me, so much more I feel 120 

Torment within me, as from the hateful siege 



Of contraries ; all good to me becomes 
Bane, and in Heaven much worse would be my state. 
But neither here seek I, no, nor in Heaven 
To dwell, unless by mastering Heaven's Supreme ; 
Nor hope to be myself less miserable 
By what I seek, but others to make such 
As I, though thereby worse to me redound : 
For only in destroying I find ease 

To my relentless thoughts; and, him destroyed, 130 

Or won to what may work his utter loss, 
For whom all this was made, all this will soon 
Follow, as to him linked in weal or woe ; 
In woe then, that destruction wide may range ! 
To me shall be the glory sole among 
The infernal Powers, in one day to have marred 
What he, Almighty styled, six nights and days 
Continued making, and who knows how long 
i Before had been contriving? though perhaps 
Not longer than since I in one night freed 140 

From servitude inglorious well nigh half 
The Angelic name, and thinner left the throng 
Of his adorers. He, to be avenged, 
And to repair his numbers thus impaired 
Whether such virtue spent of old now failed 
More Angels to create, if they at least 
Are his created, or to spite us more 
Determined to advance into our room 
A creature formed of earth, and him endow, 
Exalted from so base original, 150 

With Heavenly spoils, our spoils. What he decreed 
He effected; Man he made, and for him built 
Magnificent this World, and Earth his seat, 
Him lord pronounced, and, O indignity ! 

p. L. l6 


Subjected to his service Angel-wings, 

And flaming ministers to watch and tend 

Their earthy charge. Of these the vigilance 

I dread, and, to elude, thus wrapt in mist 

Of midnight vapour glide obscure, and pry 

In every bush and brake, where hap may find 160 

The serpent sleeping, in whose mazy folds 

To^hide me, and the dark intent I bring. 

O foul descent ! that I, who erst contended 

With Gods to sit the highest, am now constrained 

Into a beast, and, mixed with bestial slime, 

This essence to incarnate and imbrute, 

That to the highth of deity aspired ! 

But what will not ambition and revenge 

Descend to? Who aspires must down as low 

As high he soared, obnoxious first or last 170 

To basest things. Revenge, at first though sweet, 

Bitter ere long back on itself recoils. 

Let it; I reck not, so it light well aimed 

(Since higher I fall short) on him who next 

Provokes my envy, this new favourite 

Of Heaven, this man of clay, son of despite, 

Whom, us the more to spite, his Maker raised 

From dust : spite then with spite is best repaid." 

So saying, through each thicket, dank or dry, 
Like a black mist low-creeping, he held on 180 

His midnight search, where soonest he might find 
The serpent. Him fast sleeping soon he found, 
In labyrinth of many a round self-rolled, 
His head the midst, well stored with subtle wiles: 
Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den, 
Nor nocent yet, but on the grassy herb, 
Fearless, unfeared, he slept. In at his mouth 



The Devil entered, and his brutal sense, 

In heart or head, possessing soon inspired 

With act intelligential ; but his sleep 190 

Disturbed not, waiting close the approach of morn. 

Now, whenas sacred light began to dawn 
In Eden on the humid flowers, that breathed 
Their morning incense, when all things that breathe 
From the Earth's great altar send up silent praise 
To the Creator, and his nostrils fill 
With grateful smell, forth came the human pair, 
And joined their vocal worship to the quire 
Of creatures wanting voice ; that done, partake 
The season, prime for sweetest scents and airs; 200 

Then commune how that day they best may ply 
\ Their growing work; for much their work outgrew 
\ The hands' dispatch of two, gardening so wide : 
* And Eve first to her husband thus began : 

"Adam, well may we labour still to dress 
This garden, still to tend plant, herb, and flower, 
Our pleasant task enjoined; but, till more hands 
Aid us, the work under our labour grows, 
Luxurious by restraint : what we by day 
Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind, 210 

One night or two with wanton growth derides, 
Tending to wild. Thou therefore now advise, 
Or hear what to my mind first thoughts present: 
\Let us divide our labours thou where choice 
Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to wind 
The woodbine round this arbour, or direct 
The clasping ivy where to climb; while I, 
In yonder spring of roses intermixed 
With myrtle, find what to redress till noon. 
For, while so near each other thus all day 220 

16 2 


Our task we choose, what wonder if so near 
Looks intervene and smiles, or object new 
Casual discourse draw on, which intermits 
Our day's work, brought to little, though begun 
Early, and the hour of supper comes unearned ! " 

To whom mild answer Adam thus returned : 
"Sole Eve, associate sole, to me beyond 
Compare above all living creatures dear ! 
Well hast thou motioned, well thy thoughts employed 
How we might best fulfil the work which here 230 

God hath assigned us, nor of me shalt pass 
i Unpraised; for nothing lovelier can be found 
In woman than to study household good, 
And good works in her husband to promote. 
Yet not so strictly hath our Lord imposed 
Labour, as to debar us when we need 
Refreshment, whether food, or talk between, 
Food of the mind, or this sweet intercourse 
Of looks and smiles ; for smiles from reason flow, 
To brute denied, and are of love the food 240 

Love, not the lowest end of human life. 
For not to irksome toil, but to delight, 
He made us, and delight to reason joined. 
These paths and bowers doubt not but our joint hands 
Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide 
As we need walk, till younger hands ere long 
Assist us. But if much converse perhaps 
Thee satiate, to short absence I could yield; 
For solitude sometimes is best society, 
.And short retirement urges sweet return. 250 

But other doubt possesses me, lest harm 
Befall thee severed from me; for thou know'st 
What hath been warned us, what malicious foe, 


BOOK IX. 245 

Envying our happiness, and of his own 
Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame 
By sly assault; and somewhere nigh at hand 
Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find 
His wish and best advantage, us asunder, 
Hopeless to circumvent us joined, where each 
To other speedy aid might lend at need. 260 

Whether his first design be to withdraw 
Our fealty from God, or to disturb 
Conjugal love, than which perhaps no bliss 
Enjoyed by us excites his envy more; 
Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side 
That gave thee being, still shades thee and protects, 
f The wife, where danger or dishonour lurks, 
* I Safest and seemliest by her husband stays, 
7 [Who guards her, or with her the worst endures." 

To whom the virgin majesty of Eve, 270 

As one who loves, and some unkindness meets, 
/With sweet austere composure thus replied : 

"Offspring of Heaven and Earth, and all Earth's lord! 
That such an enemy we have, who seeks 
Our ruin, both by thee informed I learn, 
And from the parting Angel overheard, 
As in a shady nook I stood behind, 
Just then returned at shut of evening flowers. 
But that thou shouldst my firmness therefore doubt 
To God or thee, because we have a foe 280 

May tempt it, I expected not to hear. 
His violence thou fear'st not, being such 
As we, not capable of death or pain, 

I Can either not receive, or can repel. 
His fraud is then thy fear; which plain infers 
Thy equal fear that my firm faith and love 


j Can by his fraud be shaken or seduced ; 

I Thoughts, which how found they harbour in thy breast, 

l Adam 1 misthought of her to thee so dear?" 

To whom with healing words Adam replied: 290 

" Daughter of God and Man, immortal Eve ! 
For such thou art, from sin and blame entire; 

iNot diffident of thee do I dissuade 

JThy absence from my sight, but to avoid 
|The attempt itself, intended by our foe. 

"" For he who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses 
The tempted with dishonour foul, supposed 
Not incorruptible of faith, not proof 
Against temptation. Thou thyself with scorn 
And anger wouldst resent the offered wrong, 300 

Though ineffectual found; misdeem not then, 
If such affront I labour to avert 
From thee alone, which on us both at once 
The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare, 
Or daring, first on me the assault shall light. 
Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn 
Subtle he needs must be, who could seduce 
Angels nor think superfluous others' aid. 
I from the influence of thy looks receive 
Access in every virtue; in thy sight 310 

More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were 
Of outward strength ; while shame, thou looking on, 
Shame to be overcome or overreached, 
Would utmost vigour raise, and raised unite. 
Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel 
When I am present, and thy trial choose 
With me, best witness of thy virtue tried?" 
f So spake domestic Adam in his care 
And matrimonial love; but Eve, who thought 

BOOK IX. 247 

(Less attributed to her faith sincere, 320 

(Thus her reply with accent sweet renewed : 
" If this be our condition thus to dwell 

In narrow circuit straitened by a foe, 

Subtle or violent, we not endued 

Single with like defence wherever met, 
v. How are we happy, still in fear of harm ? 

Ifut harm precedes not sin : only our foe 

Tempting affronts us with his foul esteem 

Of our integrity ; his foul esteem 

Sticks no dishonour on our front, but turns 330 

Foul on himself; then wherefore shunned or feared 

By us? who rather double honour gain 

From his surmise proved false, find peace within, 

Favour from Heaven, our witness, from the event, 
t r "And what is faith, love, virtue, unassayed 
uAlone, without exterior help sustained? 

Let us not then suspect our happy state 

Left so imperfect by the^ Maker wise, 

As not secure to single or combined. 

Frail is our happiness, if this be so, 340 

And Eden were no Eden, thus exposed." 
To whom thus Adam fervently replied : 

"O Woman, best are all things as the will 

Of God ordained them ; his creating hand 

Nothing imperfect or deficient left 

Of all that he created, much less Man, 

Or aught that might his happy state secure, 

Secure from outward force: within himself 

The danger lies, yet lies within his power; 

Against his will he can receive no harm. 350 

free the will ; for what obeys 

Reason is ftce," 'and Reason 


But bid her well be ware, and still erect, 
Lest, by some fair appearing good surprised, 
She dictate false, and misinform the will 
To do what God expressly hath forbid. 
Not then mistrust, but tender love, enjoins 
That I should mind thee oft, and mind thou me. 
Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve, 
Since Reason not impossibly may meet 360 

Some specious object by the foe suborned, 
And fall into deception unaware, 
f Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warned. 
\ Seek not temptation then, which to avoid 
i Were better, and most likely if from me 
\Thou sever not : trial will come unsought. 
Wouldst thou approve thy constancy, approve 
First thy obedience ; the other who can know, 
Not seeing thee attempted, who attest? 
But if thou think trial unsought may find 370 

Us both securer than thus warned thou seem'st, 
Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more; 
Go in thy native innocence, rely 
On what thou hast of virtue, summon all; 
For God towards thee hath done his part; do thine." 

So spake the patriarch of mankind; but Eve 
Persisted; yet submiss, though last, replied: 

"With thy permission then, and thus forewarned, 
Chiefly by what thine own last reasoning words 
Touched only, that our trial, when least sought, 380 

May find us both perhaps far less prepared, 
The willinger I go, nor much expect 
A foe so proud will first the weaker seek ; 
So bent, the more shall shame him his repulse." 

Thus saying, from her husband's hand her hand 

BOOK IX. 249 

Soft she withdrew, and like a wood-nymph light, 

Dread or pryafl T nr .o. .Delia's trajn, 

Betook her to the groves, but Delia's self 

In gait surpassed and goddess-like deport, 

Though not as she with bow and quiver armed, 390 

But with such gardening tools as art, yet rude, 

Guiltless of fire, had formed, or Angels brought. 

To Pales, or Pomona, thus adorned, 

Likest she seemed Pomona when she fled 

Vertumnus or to Ceres in her prime, 

Yet virgin of Proserpina from Jove. 

[Her long with ardent look his eye pursued 

Delighted, but desiring more her stay. 
/ Oft he to her his charge of quick return 

Repeated; she to him as oft engaged 400 

To be returned by noon amid the bower, 

And all things in best order to invite 

Noontide repast, or afternoon's repose. 

O much deceived, much failing, hapless Eve, 

Of thy presumed return.! event perverse ! 

Thou never from that hour in Paradise 

Found'st either sweet repast or sound repose; 

Such ambush, hid among sweet flowers and shades, 

Waited with hellish rancour imminent 

To intercept thy way, or send thee back 410 

Despoiled of innocence, of faith, of bliss. 

For now, and since first break of dawn, the Fiend, 

Mere serpent in appearance, forth was come, 
^jVnd on his quest, where likeliest he might find 
\ The only two of mankind, but in them 
Vjhe whole included race, his purposed prey. 

In bower and field he sought, where any tuft 

Of grove or garden-plot more pleasant lay, 


Their tendance or plantation for delight; 

By fountain or by shady rivulet 420 

He sought them both, but wished his hap might find 

Eve separate; he wished, but not with hope 

Of what so seldom chanced; when to his wish, 

Beyond his hope, Eve separate he spies, 

Veiled in a cloud of fragrance, where she stood, 

Half-spied, so thick the roses bushing round 

About her glowed, oft stooping to support 

Each flower of tender stalk, whose head, though gay 

Carnation, purple, azure, or specked with gold, 

Hung drooping unsustained : them she upstays 430 

Gently with myrtle band, mindless the while 

Herself, though fairest unsupported flower, 

From her best prop so far, and storm so nigh. 

Nearer he drew, and many a walk traversed 

Of stateliest covert, cedar, pine, or palm ; 

Then voluble and bold, now hid, now seen, 

Among thick-woven arborets, and flowers 

Imbordered on each bank, the hand of Eve: 

Spot more delicious than those gardens feigned 

Or of revived Adonis, or renowned 440 

Akinotu^ host of QMJLaeitSS' son, 

Or that, not mystic, where the sapient king 

Held dalliance with Jiis fair Egyptian spouse. 

Much he the place admired, the person more. 

As one who, long in populous city pent, 

Where houses thick and sewers annoy the air, 

Forth issuing on a summer's morn to breathe 

Among the pleasant villages and farms 

Adjoined, from each thing met conceives delight 

The smell of grain, or tedded grass, or kine, 450 

Or dairy, each rural sight, each rural sound ; 

BOOK IX. 251 

If chance with nymph-like step fair virgin pass, 

What pleasing seemed, for her now pleases more, 

She most, and in her look sums all delight : 

Such pleasure took the Serpent to behold 

This flowery plat, the sweet recess of Eve 

Thus early, thus alone. Her heavenly form 

Angelic, but more soft and feminine, 

Her graceful innocence, her every air 

Of gesture or least action, overawed 460 

His malice, and with rapine sweet bereaved 

His fierceness of the fierce intent it brought : 

That space the Evil One abstracted stood 

From his own evil, and for the time remained 

Stupidly good, of enmity disarmed, 

Of guile, of hate, of envy, of revenge. 

But the hot hell that always in him burns, 

Though in mid Heaven, soon ended his delight, 

And tortures him now more, the more he sees 

Of pleasure not for him ordained ; then soon 470 

Fierce hate he recollects, and all his thoughts 

Of mischief, gratulating, thus excites : 

" Thoughts, whither have ye led me ? with what sweet 
Compulsion thus transported to forget 
What hither brought us? hate, not love, nor hope 
Of Paradise for Hell, hope here to taste 
Of pleasure, but all pleasure to destroy, 
Save what is in destroying; other joy 
To me is lost. Then let me not let pass 
Occasion which now smiles : behold alone 480 

The woman, opportune to all attempts, 
iHer husband, for I view far round, not nigh, 
f IWhose higher intellectual more I shun, 
| (And strength, of courage haughty, and of limb 


/^Heroic built, though of terrestrial mould; 
Foe not informidable, exempt from wound, 
I not; so much hath Hell debased, and pain 
Enfeebled me, to what I was in Heaven. 
She fair, divinely fair, fit love for Gods, 
Not terrible, though terror be in love 490 

And beauty, not approached by stronger hate, 
Hate stronger under show of love well feigned 
The way which to her ruin now I tend." 

So spake the Enemy of mankind, enclosed 
In serpent, inmate bad, and toward Eve 
Addressed his way not with indented wave, 
Prone on the ground, as since, but on his rear, 
Circular base of rising folds, that towered 
Fold above fold, a surging maze; his head 
Crested aloft, and carbuncle his eyes; 500 

With burnished neck of verdant gold, erect 
Amidst his circling spires, that on the grass 
Floated redundant. Pleasing was his shape 
And lovely; never since of serpent kind 
Lovelier; not those that in Illyria changed 
Hermione and Cadmus, or the god 
In Epidaurus; nor to which transformed 
Ammonian Jove, or Capitoline, was seen, 
He with Olympias, this with her who bore 
Scipio, the highth of Rome. With tract oblique 510 

At first, as one who sought access but feared 
To interrupt, sidelong he works his way. 
As when a ship by skilful steersman wrought 
Nigh river's mouth or foreland, where the wind 
Veers oft, as oft so steers, and shifts her sail: 
So varied he, and of his tortuous train 
Curled many a wanton wreath in sight of Eve, 


BOOK IX. 253 

To lure her eye; she, busied, heard the sound 

Of rustling leaves, but minded not, as used 

To such disport before her through the field, 520 

From every beast, more duteous at her call, 

Than at Circean call the herd disguised. 

He, bolder ncnv, uncalled before her stood, 

But as in gaze admiring. Oft he bowed 

His turret crest, and sleek enamelled neck, 

Fawning, and licked the ground whereon she trod. 

His gentle dumb expression turned at length 

The eye of Eve to mark his play; he, glad 

Of her attention gained, with serpent-tongue 

Organic, or impulse of vocal air, 530 

His fraudulent temptation thus began : 

If" Wonder not, sovran mistress, if perhaps 

Thou canst who art sole wonder; much less arm 

Thy looks, the heaven of mildness, with disdain, 

Displeased that I approach thee thus, and gaze 

Insatiate, I thus single, nor have feared 

Thy awful brow, more awful thus retired. 

Fairest resemblance of thy Maker fair, 

Thee all things living gaze on, all things thine 

By gift, and thy celestial beauty adore, 540 

With ravishment beheld there best beheld 

Where universally admired; but here 

In this enclosure wild, these beasts among, 

Beholders rude, and shallow to discern 

Half what in thee is fair, one man except, 

Who sees thee ? (and what is one ?) who shouldst be seen 

A Goddess among Gods, adored and served 

By Angels numberless, thy daily train." 

So glozed the Tempter, and his proem tuned; 
Into the heart of Eve his words made way, 550 


Though at the voice much marvelling; at length, 
Not unamazed, she thus in answer spake : 

"What may this mean? Language of Man pronounced 
By tongue of brute, and human sense expressed ! 
The first at least of these I thought denied 
To beasts, whom God on their creation- day 
Created mute to all articulate sound; 
The latter I demur, for in their looks 
Much reason, and in their actions, oft appears, 
Thee, Serpent, subtlest beast of all the field 560 

I knew, but not with human voice endued ; 
Redouble then this miracle, and say, 
How cam'st thou speakable of mute, and how 
To me so friendly grown above the rest 
Of brutal kind, that daily are in sight : 
Say, for such wonder claims attention due." 

To whom the guileful Tempter thus replied: 
"Empress of this fair World, resplendent Eve! 
Easy to me it is to tell thee all 
What thou command'st, and right thou shouldst be 

obey'd. 570 

I was at first as other beasts that graze 
The trodden herb, of abject thoughts and low, 
As was my food, nor aught but food discerned 
Or sex, and apprehended nothing high : 
Till on a day, roving the field, I chanced 
A goodly tree far distant to behold, 
Loaden with fruit of fairest colours mixed, 
Ruddy and gold. I nearer drew to gaze; 
When from the boughs a savoury odour blown, 
Grateful to appetite, more pleased my sense 580 

Than smell of sweetest fennel, or the teats 
Of ewe or goat dropping with milk at even, 

BOOK IX. 255 

Unsucked of lamb or kid, that tend their play. 

To satisfy the sharp desire I had 

Of tasting those fair apples, I resolved 

Not to defer; hunger and thirst at once, 

Powerful persuaders, quickened at the scent 

Of that alluring fruit, urged me so keen. 

About the mossy trunk I wound me soon ; 

For, high from ground,* the branches would require 590 

Thy utmost reach or Adam's : round the tree 

All other beasts that saw, with like desire 

Longing and envying stood, but could not reach. 

Amid the tree now got, where plenty hung 

Tempting so nigh, to pluck and eat my fill 

I spared not; for such pleasure till that hour 

At feed or fountain never had I found. 

f Sated at length, ere long I might perceive 

\ Strange alteration in me, to degree 

Of reason in my inward powers, and speech 600 

Wanted not long, though to this shape retained. 

Thenceforth to speculations high or deep 

I turned my thoughts, and with capacious mind 

Considered all things visible in Heaven, 

Or Earth, or middle, all things fair and good: 

But all that fair and good in thy divine 

Semblance, and in thy beauty's heavenly ray, 

United I beheld; no fair to thine 

Equivalent or second, which compelled 

Me thus, though importune perhaps, to come 610 

And gaze, and worship thee of right declared 

Sovran of creatures, universal Dame ! n 

So talked the spirited sly Snake; and Eve, 
Yet more amazed, unwary thus replied: 
" Serpent, thy overpraising leaves in doubt 


The virtue of that fruit, in thee first proved. 

But say, where grows the tree? from hence how far? 

For many are the trees of God that grow 

In Paradise, and various, yet unknown 

To us; in such abundance lies our choice, 620 

As leaves a greater store of fruit untouched, 

Still hanging incorruptible, till men 

Grow up to their provision, and more hands 

Help to disburden Nature of her birth." 

To whom the wily Adder, blithe and glad: 
"Empress, the way is ready, and not long; 
Beyond a row of myrtles, on a flat, 
Fast by a fountain, one small thicket past 
Of blowing myrrh and balm : if thou accept 
My conduct, I can bring thee thither soon." 630 

"Lead then," said Eve. He leading swiftly rolled 
In tangles, and made intricate seem straight, 
To mischief swift. Hope elevates, and joy 
Brightens his crest. As when a wandering fire, 
Compact of unctuous vapour, which the night 
Condenses, and the cold environs round, 
Kindled through agitation to a flame 
(Which oft, they say, some evil spirit attends), 
Hovering and blazing with delusive light, 
Misleads the amazed night-wanderer from his way 640 
To bogs and mires, and oft through pond or pool, 
There swallowed up and lost, from succour far: 
So glistered the dire Snake, and into fraud 

i Led Eve, our credulous mother, to the Tree 

Lpf prohibition, root of all our woe; 
Which when she saw, thus to her guide she spake: 

"Serpent, we might have spared our coming hither, 
Fruitless to me, though fruit be here to excess, 



The credit of whose virtue rest with thee ; 
Wondrous indeed, if cause of such effects ! 
But of this tree we may not taste nor touch ; 
God so commanded, and left that command 
Sole daughter of his voice : the rest, we live 
Law to ourselves ; our reasor^is our law." 

To whom the Tempter guilefully replied : 
" Indeed ? Hath God then said that of the fruit 
Of all these garden-trees ye shall not eat, 
Yet lords declared of all in Earth or air ? " 

To whom thus Eve, yet sinless : " Of the fruit 
Of each tree in the garden we may eat; 
But of the fruit of this fair tree amidst 
The garden, God hath said, *Xg 




Thereof, nor shall ye touch it, lest ye die.'" 
/ She" scarce had "sauT," thcmgh " brief7 when now more bold 
The Tempter, but with show of zeal and love 
To Man, and indignation at his wrong, 
New part puts on, and, as to passion moved, 
Fluctuates disturbed, yet comely, and in act 
Raised, as of some great matter to begin. 
As when of old some orator renowned 670 

In Athens or free Rome, where eloquence 
Flourished, since mute, to some great cause addressed, 
Stood in himself collected, while each part, 
Motion, each act, won audience ere the tongue, 
Sometimes in highth began, as no delay 
Of preface brooking through his zeal of right : 
So standing, moving, or to highth upgrown, 
The Tempter, all impassioned, thus began :// 

"O sacred, wise, and wisdom-giving Plant, 
Mother of science ! now I feel thy power 680 

Within me clear, not only to discern 

p. L. 


Things in their causes, but to trace the ways 

Of highest agents, deemed however wise. 

Queen of this Universe ! do not believe 

Those rigid threats of death. Ye shall not die : 

How should ye? by the fruit? it^gives you life 

To knowledge ; by the threatener? look on me, 

Me who have touched and tasted, yet both live, 

And life more perfect have attained than Fate 

Meant me, by venturing higher than my lot. 690 

Shall that be shut to Man which to the beast 

Is open ? or will God incense his ire 

For such a petty trespass, and not praise 

Ijathgr, your dauntless virtue, whom the pain 

Of death denounced, whatever thing death be, 

Deterred not from achieving what might lead 

To happier Ijfe 1 knowledge of good and evilJL 

Of good, how just ! of evil if what is evil 

Bejpeal. whv not known, since easier shunned? 

God therefore cannot hurt ye, and be just ; 700 

Not just, not God ; not feared then, nor obeyed : 

Your fear itself of death removes the fear. 

Why then was this forbid? Why but to awe, 

Why but to keep ye low and ignorant, 

His worshippers? He knows that in the day 

Ye eat thereof, your eyes that seem so clear, 

Yet are but dim, shall perfectly be then 

Opened/ancI cleared, and ye shall HeTas Gods t 

nowing both good and evil, as they know. 

That ye should be as Gods, since I as Man, 710 

Internal Man, is but proportion meet : 

I, of brute, human ; ye, of human, Gods. 

So ye shall die perhaps, by putting off 

Human, to put on Gods; death to be wished, 




Though threatened, which no worse than this can bring !j 
And what are Gods, that Man may not become 
As they, participating godlike food? 
The Gods are first, and that advantage use 
On our belief, that all from them proceeds: 
I question it; for this fair Earth I see, 
Warmed by the sun, producing every kind, 
.Them nothing: if they all things, who enclosed 
Knowledge of good and evil in this tree, 
That whoso eats thereof forthwith attains 
Wisdom without their leave ? and wherein lies 
The offence, that Man should thus attain to know? 
What can your knowledge hurt him, or this tree 
Impart against his will, if all be his? 
Or is it envy? and can envy dwell 
In Heavenly breasts? These, these and many more 
Causes import your need of this fair fruit. 

then, and freely taste ! " * 



He ended, and his words, replete with guile, 
her heart too easy entrance won. 

Fixed on the fruit she gazed, which to behold 
Might tempt alone, and in her ears the sound 
Yet rung of his persuasive words, impregned "\ 
With reason, to her seeming, and with truth. 
Meanwhile the hour of noon drew on, and waked 
An eager appetite, raised by the smell 
So savoury of that fruit, which with desire, 
Inclinable now grown to touch or taste, 
Solicited her longing eye; yet first, 
Pausing a while, thus to herself she mused : 

" Great are thy virtues, doubtless, best of fruits, 
^Though kept from Man, and worthy to be admired, 
jWhose taste, too long forborne, at first assay 




Gave elocution to the mute, and taught 
The tongue not made for speech to speak thy praise. 
Thy praise he also who forbids thy use 750 

Conceals not from us, naming thee the Tree 
Of Knowledge, knowledge both of good and evil; 
Forbids us then to taste; but his forbidding 
Commends thee more, while it infers the good 
By thee communicated, and our want; 
For good unknown sure is not had, or had, 
And yet unknown, is as not had at all. 
In plain then, what forbids he but to know? 
Forbids us good, forbids us to be wise ! 
Such prohibitions bind not. But if death 760 

Bind us with after-bands, what profits then 
Our inward freedom? In the day we eat 
Of this fair fruit, our doom is, we shall die ! 
How dies the Serpent? He hath eaten and lives, _^ 
And knows, and speaks, and reasons, and discerns, 
Irrational till then. For us alone 
Was death invented? or to us denied 
This intellectual food, for beasts reserved? 
For beasts it seems; yet that one beast which first 
Hath tasted envies not, but brings with joy 770 

The good befallen him, author unsuspect, 
Friendly to Man, far from deceit or guile. 
What fear I then? rather, what know to fear 
Under this ignorance of good and evil, 
Of God or death, of law or penalty? 
Here grows the cure of all, this fruit divine, 
Fair to the eye, inviting to the taste, 
Of virtue to make wise : what hinders then 
To reach, and feed at once both body and mind?" 
So saytng^TileTTash hand in evil hour 780 

BOOK IX. 26l 

Forth reaching to the fruit, she plucked, she eat. 

Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat, 

Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe 

That_all was lost. Hack to the thicket slunk 

The guilty Serpent, and well might, for Eve, 

Intent now only on her taste, naught else 

Regarded; such delight till then, as seemed, 

fif Iruit she never tasted, whether true, 

Or fancied so through expectation high 

Of knowledge ; nor was Godhead from her thought. 790 

Greedily she ingorged without restraint, 

And knew not eating death. Satiate at length, 

And hightened as with wine, jocund and boon, 

Thus to herself she pleasingly began : 

"O sovran, virtuous, precious of all trees 
In Paradise ! of operation blest 
To sapience, hitherto obscured, infamed, 
And_ thy fair fruit let hang, as to no end 
Creaiecl! but henceforth my early care, 
Not without song, each -morning, and due praise, 800 
Shall tend thee, and the fertile burden ease 
Of thy full branches, offered free to all; 
Till, dieted by thee, I grow mature 
In knowledge, as the Gods who all things know; 
Though others envy what they cannot give 
For, had the gift been theirs, it had not here 
Thus grown ! Experience, next to thee I owe, 
Best guide: not* Following thee, I had remained 
In ignorance : thou open'st Wisdom's way, 
And giv'st access, though secret she retire. 810 

And I perhaps am secret; Heaven is high, 
High, aiid remote to see from thence distinct 
Each thing on Earth; and other care perhaps 


May have diverted from continual watch 

Our great Forbidder, safe with all his spies 

About him. But to Adam in what sort 

Shall I appear? Shall I to him make known 

As yet my change, and give him to partake 

Full happiness with me, or rather not, 

But keep the odds of knowledge in my power 820 

Without copartner ? so to add what wants 

In female sex, the more to draw his love, 

And render me more equal, and perhaps, 

A thing not undesirable, sometime 

guperior ; for, inferior, who is free? 

This may be well: but what if God have seen, 

And death ensue? then I shall be no more, 

And Adam, wedded to another Eve, 

Shall live with her enjoying, I extinct ! 

A death to think ! Confirmed then I resolve, 830 

Adam shall share with me in bliss or woeT*"^ 

So dear I love him", that with him all deaths 

I could_endure, without Jiim liye_pQ Jife*" 

So saying, from the tree her step she turned, 
But first low reverence done, as to the Power 
That dwelt within, whose presence had infused 
Into the plant sciential sap, derived 
[From nectar, drink of Gods. Adam the while, 
\Waiting desirous her return, had wove 
pf choicest flowers a garland, to adorn 840 

(Her tresses, and her rural labours crown, 
As 'reapers oft are wont their harvest queen. 
Great joy he promised to his thoughts, and new 
Solace in her return, so long delayed; 
Yet oft his heart, divine of something ill, 
Misgave him; he the faltering measure felt, 



And forth to meet her went, the way she took 
That morn when first they parted. By the Tree 
Of Knowledge he must pass ; there he her met, 
Scarce from the tree returning; in her hand 850 

A bough of fairest fruit, that downy smiled, 
New gathered, and ambrosial smell diffused. 
To him she hasted; in her face excuse 
Came prologue, and apology to prompt, 
Which, with bland words at will, she thus addressed : 
r "Hast thou not wondered, Adam, at my stay? 
Thee I have missed, and thought it long, deprived 
Thy presence agony of love till now 
Not felt, nor shall be twice; for nev&Ljaiore 
'. MgiD- T tr> tr y, Wh flt rash yfltried T sought. 860 

The pain of absence from thy sight. But strange 
"Hath been the cause, and wonderful to hear. 
This tree is not, as we are told, a tree 
Of danger tasted, nor to evil unknown 
Opening the way, but of divine effect 
^'o open eyes, and mak-e them GocTsT who taste ; 
And hath been tastecLsiidi. . The Serpent wise, 
Or not restrained as we, or not obeying, 
Hath eaten of the fruit, and is become, 
Not dead, as we are threatened, but thenceforth 870 

Endued with human voice and human sense, 
Reasoning to admiration, and with me 
Persuasively hath so prevailed, that I 
Have also tasted, and have also found 
The effects to correspond opener mine eyes, 
Dim erst, dilated spirits, ampler heart, 
And growing up to Godhead; which for thee 
Chiefly I sought, without thee can despise. 
VFor bliss, as thou hast part, to me is bliss; 


Tedious, unshared with thee, and odious soon. 880 

Thou therefore also taste, that equal lot 

May join us, equal joy, as equal love; 

Lest, thou not tasting, different degree 

Disjoin us, and I then too late renounce 

Deity for thee, when fate will not permit.' 1 

~ Thus Eve with countenance blithe her story told; 

But in her cheek distemper flushing glowed. 

On the other side, Adam, soon as he heard 

The fatal trespass done by Eve, amazed, 

Astonied stood and blank, while horror chill 890 

Ran through his veins, and all his joints relaxed; 

From his slack hand the garland wreathed for Eve 

Down dropt, and all the faded roses shed. 

Speechless he stood and pale, till thus at length 

First to himself he inward silence broke : 

" O fairest of creation, last and best 
Of all God's works, creature in whom excelled 
Whatever can to sight or thought be formed, 
Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet ! 
How art thou lost ! how on a sudden lost, 900 

Defaced, deflowered, and now to death devote ! 
Rather, how hast thou yielded to transgress 
The strict forbiddance, how to violate 
The sacred fruit forbidden ? Some cursed fraud 
Of enemy hath beguiled thee, yet unknown, 
And me with thee hath ruined; for with thee 
Certain my resolution is to die : 
How can I live without thee? how forgo 
Thy sweet converse and love so dearly joined, 
To live again in these wild woods forlorn? 910 

Should God create another Eve, and I 
Another rib afford, yet loss of thee 


26 S 

Would never from my heart ; no, no ! I feel 
The link of nature draw me : flesh of flesh, 
Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state 
Mine never shall be parted, bliss_pr_woe.^_ 
so having said, as one from sad dismay 
Recomforted, and, after thoughts disturbed, 
Submitting to what seemed remediless, 
Thus in calm mood his words to Eve he turned : 920 

" Bold deed thou hast presumed, adventurous Eve, 
And peril great provoked, who thus hast dared, 
Had it Seen only coveting to eye 
That sacred fruit, sacred to abstinence; 
Much more to taste it, under ban to touch. 
But past who can recall, or done undo? 
Not God Omnipotent, nor Fate! ggt so 
Perhaps thou_shalt not die; perhaps the fart 
Is not so heinous now foretasted fruit, 
Profaned first by the Serpent, by him first 930 

Made common and unhallowed ere our taste, 
Nor yet on him found deadly; he yet lives, 
Lives, as thou saidst, and gains to live, as Man, 
Higher degree of life : inducement strong 
To us, as likely, tasting, to attain 
Proportional ascent; which cannot be 
But to be Gods, or Angels, demi-gods. 
Nor can I think that God, Creator wise, 
Though threatening, will in earnest so destroy 
Us his prime creatures, dignified so high, * 940 

Set over all his works, which in our fall, 
For us created, needs with us must fail, 
Dependent made; so God shall uncreate, 
Be frustrate, do, undo, and labour lose; 
Not well conceived of God, who, though his power 


Creation could repeat, yet would be loth 

Us to abolish, lest the Adversary 

Triumph and say: 'Fickle their state whom God 

Most favours; who can please him long? Me first 

He ruined, now mankind; whom will he next?' 950 

Matter of scorn not to be given the Foe. 

j However, I with thee have fixed my lot, 

I Certain to undergo like doom : if death 

I Consort with thee, death is to me as life; 
So forcible within my heart I feel 
The bond of nature draw me to my own, 
My own in thee, for what thou art is mine. 
Our state cannot be severed; we are one, 
One flesh; to lose thee were to lose myself." 

So Adam, and thus Eve to him replied : 960 

" O glorious trial of exceeding love, 
Illustrious evidence, example high ! 
Engaging me to emulate; but, short 
Of thy perfection, how shall I attain, 
Adam? from whose dear side I boast me sprung, 
And gladly of our union hear thee speak, 
One heart, one soul in both ; whereof good proof 
This day affords, declaring thee resolved, 
Rather than death, or aught than death more dread, 
Shall separate us, linked in love so dear, 970 

To undgrgo wffo TT>P <">r>p 

If any be, of tasting this fair fruit ; 

Whose virtue (for of good still good proceeds, 

Direct, or by occasion) hath presented 

This happy trial of thy love, which else 

So eminently never had been known. 

Were it I thought death menaced would ensue 

This my attempt, I would sustain alone 

BOOK IX. 267 

The worst, and not persuade thee, rather die 

J2g>serted r than oblige thee with^a_fact 980 

Pernicious to thy peace, chiefly assured 

Remarkably so late of thy so true, 

So faithful love unequalled; but I feel 

Far otherwise the event not death, but life 

Augmented, opened eyes, new hopes, new joys, 

Taste so divine, that what of sweet before 

Hath touched my sense flat seems to this and harsh. 

On my experience, Adam, freely taste, 

And fear of death deliver to the winds." 

I So saying, she embraced him, and for joy 990 

nderly wept, much won that he his loyg 
id so ennobled, as of choice^ to incur 
yjne_displeasure for her sake, or death. 
In recompense (for such compliance bad 
Such recompense best merits), from the bough 
She gave him of that fair enticing fruit 
With liberal hand ; he scrupled not to eat. 
Against hi 5 hptfpr knowledge, not deceived, 
But fondly overcome with female charm. 
Earth trembled from her entrails, as again 1000 

In pangs, and Nature gave a second groan; 
Sky loured, and, muttering thunder, some sad drops 

WejTt^J; rnmplptirig nf f k p rnnrfil srn 

O-liginal_L while Adam took no thought, 

Eatingjiis fill, nor Eve to iterate 

Her former trespass feared, the more to soothe 

Him with her loved society~pthat now, 

As with new wine intoxicated both, 

They swim in mirth, and fancy that they feel 

Divinity within them breeding wings 1010 

Wherewith to scorn the Earth. But that false fruit 


Far other operation first displayed, , 

\ /Carnal desire inflaming " he on Eve 
Began to cast lascivious eyes ; she him 

/ As wantonly xepaid : in lust they burn, 

* Till Adam thus 'gan Eve to dalliance move: 
~*"Eve, now I see thou art exact of taste, 
And^ elegant, of sapience no small part; 
Since to each meaning savour we apply, 
And palate call judicious. I the praise 1020 

Yield thee, so well this day thou hast purveyed. 
Much pleasure we have lost, while we abstained 
From this delightful fruit, nor known till now 
True relish, tasting; if such pleasure be 
In things to us forbidden, it might be wished 
For this one tree had been forbidden ten. 
But come; so well refreshed, now let us play, 
As meet is, after such delicious fare; 
For never did thy beauty, since the day 
I saw thee first and wedded thee, adorned 1030 

With all perfections, so inflame my sense 
With ardour to enjoy thee, fairer now 
Than ever bounty of this virtuous tree ! " 

So said he, and forbore not glance or toy 
Of amorous intent, well understood 

V_ Of Eve, whose eye darted contagious fire. 
Her hand he seized, and tcTaTsKady bank, 
Thick overhead with verdant roof embowered, 
He led her, nothing loth; flowers were the couch, 
Pansies, and violets, and asphodel, 1040 

And hyacinth Earth's freshest, softest lap. 
There they their Jill of love and love's disport 
Took largely, of their mutual guilt the seal, 
The solace of their sin, till dewy"jTeep 

BOOK IX. 269 

S Oppressed them, wearied with their amorous play. 

Soon as the force oFtlTlU fallacious fruit, 
That with exhilarating vapour bland 
About their spirits had played, and inmost powers 
Made err, was now exhaled, and grosser sleep, 
Bred of unkindly fumes, with conscious dreams 1050 

Encumbered, now had left them, up they rose 
As from unrest, and, each the other viewing, 
r!Sbon found their eyesJipjar-npenecU-attd- theit -minds 
How darkened. Innocence, that as a veil 
Had shadowed them from knowing ill, was gone; 
Just confidence, and najtive_jighlojisness^ 
Vnd fi^nour, from about them, nakedjleft 

o^guilty Shame : he covered, but his robe 

ncovered more. So rose the Danite gtrong T 
Herculean Samson, from the harlot-lap 1060 

Of Phnfstean Dalijah, and wak'd 
Shorn of his strength ; they destitute and bare 
Of all their virtue. Silent, and in face 
Confounded, long they sat, as strucken mute; 
Till Adam, though not less than Eve abashed, 
At length gave utterance to these words constrained: 

" O Eve, in evil hour thou didst give ear 
To that false worm, of whomsoever taught 
To counterfeit Man's voice, true in our fall, 
False in our promised rising; since our ey_es 1070 

I Opened we find indeed r jmd find we Icnnw 
IBoth gopll and~evil, good lost and evjljyot: 
iBad fruTF'oi knowledge, it' this"Be~to know, 
Which leaves us naked thus, of honour void, 
jOf innocence, of faith, ot purity, 
pur^wonted ornaments now soiled_and stained, 
And in our faces evident the^jgns 


^fifoul concupiscence; whence evil store, 
"Even shame, the last of evils ; of the first 
Be sure then. How shall I behold the face ioSo 

Henceforth of God or Angel, erst with joy 
And rapture so oft beheld? those Heavenly shapes 
Will dazzle now this earthly with their blaze 
Insufferably bright. Oh, might I here 
In solitude live^a^a^e^n_sorne glade 
Obscured, where highest woods, impenetrable 
To star or sunlight, spread their umbrage broad, 

I* And brown as evening ! Cover me, ye pines ! 
Ye cedars, with innumerable boughs 
Hide me, where I may never see them more ! 1090 

But let us now, as in bad plight, devise 
What best may for the present serve to hide 
The parts of each frorjx-Qtb^i: that seem most 
To shame obnoxious, and unseemliest seen ; 
Some tree,^wlio^e"l)road smooth leaves together sewed, 
And girded on our loins, may cover round 
Those middle parts, that this new comer, Shame, 
There sit not, and reproach us as unclean." 
So counselled he, and both together went 
Into the thickest wood; there soon they chose noo 

The fig-tree not that kind for fruit renowned, 
But such as at this day, to Indians known, 
In Malabar or Decan spreads her arms 
Branching so broad and long that in the ground 
The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow 
About tne mother tree, a pillared shade 
High overarched, and echoing walks between : 
There oft the Indian herdsman, shunning heat, 
Shelters in cool, and tends his pasturing herds 
At loop-holes cut through thickest shade. Those leaves 1 1 10 



They gathered, broad as Amazonian targe, 
And with what skill they had together sewed, 
f To gird their waist va.in_covering ? if to hide 
j Their guilt and dreaded_jshame ! Oh how unlike 
LTo that first naked glory! Such of late 
Columbus found the American, so girt 
With feathered cincture, naked else and wild 
Among the trees on isles and woody shores. 
Thus fenced, and, as they thought, their shame in part 
Covered, but not at rest or ease of mind, 1120 

Thej/_sat them down to weep ; nor only tears 
Rained at their eyes, but high winds worse within 
Began to rise, high passions, an^er, hate, 
Mistrust, suspicion, discord, and shook sore 

rheir inward state of mind, calm region once 

And full of peace, now tost and turbulent - v 

For Understanding ruled not, and the Wi 


' Heard not her lore, both in subjection now 
To sensual Appetite, who, from beneath 
Usurping over sovran ^Reason, claimed 1130 

Superior sway. From thus distempered breast 
Adam, estranged in look and altered ^tyie^. 
Speech intermitted thus to Eve renewed: 
~ "WouIbTthou hadst heartened to my words, and stayed 
With me, as I besought thee, when that strange 
Desire of wandering, this unhappy morn, 
I know not whence possessed thee ! we had then 
Remained still happy, not, as now, despoiled 
Of^ all our good, shamed, naked, miserable 1 
Let none henceforth seek needless cause to approve 1140 
The faith they owe; when earnestly they seek 
Such proof, conclude, they then begin to fail." 

To whom, soon moved with touch of blame, thus Eve: 


" What words have passed thy lips, Adam severe ! 
Imput'st thou that to my default, or will 
Of wandering, as thou call'st it, which who knows 
But might as ill have happened, thou being by, 
Or to thyself perhaps? _Hadst thou been there, 
Or here the attempt, thou couldst not have discerned 
Fraud in the Serpent, speaking as he spake; 1 1 50 

No ground of enmity between us known, 
Why he should mean me ill, or seek to harm. 
Was I to have never parted from thy side? 
As good have grown there still, a lifeless rib. 
Being as I am, whvdidst not thou, the head, 
Command me absolutely not tb~ go, 
Going into such danger, as thou saidst? 
Too facile then, thou didst not much gainsay, 
Nay, didst permit, approve, and fair dismiss. 
Hadst thou been firm and fixed in thy dissent, 1160 

Neither had I transgressed, nor thou with me." 
To whom, then first incensed, Adam replied: 
"Is this the love, is this the recompense 
Of mine to thee, ingrateful Eve, expressed 
Immutable when thou wert lost, not I, 
Who might have lived, and joyed immortal bliss, 
Yet willmgry chose- rather -death with thee ? 

And am I now upbraided as the cause 
'Of thy transgressing ? not enough severe, 
It seems, in thy restraint! What could I more? 1170 
I warned thee, I admonished jhee, foretold^ 
Thejanger^and the lurking enemy 
That lay in wait ; beyond this had been force, 

And force npnn free will hath here no plarp. 

But confidence then bore thee on, secure 
Either to meet no danger, or to find 

BOOK IX. 273 

Matter of glorious trial; and perhaps 

I also erred in overmuch admiring 

What seemed in thee s.Q.jperject t that I thought 

No evil_durst attemuLihce ; but I rue nSo 

That error now, which is becomejrny crime, 

And thou the accuser. Thus it shall befall 

Him who, to worth in women overtrusting, 

Lets her will rule: restraint she will not brook; 

And, left to herself, if evil thence ensue, 

She first his weak indulgence will accuse." 

Thus they in mutual accusation spent 
The fruitless hours, but^ neither self-condemning; 
pf their vain cpqtest app^nr^d nn gpH. 

P. L. l8 


1 8 


Man's transgression known, the guardian Angels forsake Paradise, 
and return up to Heaven to approve their vigilance, and are approved ; 
God declaring that the entrance of Satan could not be by them pre- 
vented. He sends his Son to judge the transgressors ; who descends, 
and gives sentence accordingly; then in pity clothes them both, and 
reascends. Sin and Death, sitting till then at the gates of Hell, by 
wondrous sympathy feeling the success of Satan in this new World, and 
the sin by Man there committed, resolve to sit no longer confined in 
Hell, but to follow Satan, their sire, up to the place of Man. To make 
the way easier from Hell to this World to and fro, they pave a broad 
highway or bridge over Chaos, according to the track that Satan first 
made ; then, preparing for Earth, they meet him, proud of his success, 
returning to Hell ; their mutual gratulation. Satan arrives at Pande- 
monium ; in full assembly relates, with boasting, his success against 
Man ; instead of applause is entertained with a general hiss by all his 
audience, transformed, with himself also, suddenly into serpents, ac- 
cording to his doom given in Paradise ; then, deluded with a show of 
the Forbidden Tree springing up before them, they, greedily reaching 
to take of the fruit, chew dust and bitter ashes. The proceedings of 
Sin and Death : God foretells the final victory of his Son over them, 
and the renewing of all things ; but for the present commands his 
Angels to make several alterations in the heavens and elements. Adam, 
more and more perceiving his fallen condition, heavily bewails, rejects 
the condolement of Eve; she persists, and at length appeases him: 
then, to evade the curse likely to fall on their offspring, proposes to 
Adam violent ways, which he approves not, but, conceiving better hope, 
puts her in mind of the late promise made them, that her seed should 
be revenged on the Serpent, and exhorts her, with him, to seek peace 
of the offended Deity by repentance and supplication. 


MEANWHILE the heino&s and despiteful act 
Of Satan done in Paradise, and how 
He, in the Serpent, had perverted Eve, 
Her husband she, to taste the fatal fruit, 
Was known in Heaven ; for what can scape the eye 
Of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart 
Omniscient? who, in all things wise and just, 
Hindered not Satan to attempt the mind 
Of Man, with strength entire and free will armed, 
Complete to have discovered and repulsed 10 

Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend. 
For still they knew, and ought to have still remembered, 
The high injunction not to taste that fruit, 
Whoever tempted; which they not obeying 
Incurred (what could they less ?) the penalty, 
And, manifold in sin, deserved to fall. 

Up into Heaven from Paradise in haste 
The Angelic guards ascended, mute and sad 
For Man; for of his state by this they .knew, 
Much wondering how the subtle Fiend had stolen 20 
Entrance unseen. Soon as the unwelcome news 
From Earth arrived at Heaven-gate, displeased 


All were who heard; dim sadness did not spare 

That time celestial visages, yet, mixed 

With pity, violated not their bliss. 

About the new-arrived, in multitudes, 

The ethereal people ran, to hear and know 

How all befell. They towards the throne supreme 

Accountable made haste to make appear 

With righteous plea their utmost vigilance, 30 

And easily approved; when the Most High 

Eternal Father, from his secret cloud ; 

Amidst, in thunder uttered thus his voice : 

"Assembled Angels, and ye Powers returned 
From unsuccessful charge, be not dismayed, 
Nor troubled at these tidings from the Earth, 
Which your sincerest care could not prevent, 
Foretold so lately what would come to pass, 
When first this Tempter crossed the gulf from Hell. 
I told ye then he should prevail and speed 40 

On his bad errand ; Man should be seduced 
And flattered out of all, believing lies 
Against his Maker; no decree of mine 
Concurring to necessitate his fall, 
Or touch with lightest moment of impulse 
His free will, to her own inclining left 
In even scale. But fallen he is; and now 
What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass 
On his transgression, death denounced that day? 
Which he presumes already vain and void, 50 

Because not yet inflicted, as he feared, 
By some immediate stroke; but soon shall find 
Forbearance no acquittance ere day end : 
Justice shall not return, as bounty, scorned. 
But whom send I to judge them ? whom but thee, 

BOOK X. 279 

Vicegerent Son? to thee I have transferred 

All judgment, whether in Heaven, or Earth, or Hell. 

Easy it may be seen that I intend 

Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee, 

Man's friend, his Mediator, his designed 60 

Both ransom and Redeemer voluntary, 

And destined Man himself to judge Man fallen." 

So spake the Father; and, unfolding bright 
Toward the right hand his glory, on the Son 
Blazed forth unclouded deity; he full 
Resplendent all his Father manifest 
Expressed, and thus divinely answered mild : 

" Father Eternal, thine is to decree, 
Mine both in Heaven and Earth to do thy will 
Supreme, that thou in me, thy Son beloved, 70 

May'st ever rest well pleased. I go to judge 
On Earth these thy transgressors; but thou know'st, 
Whoever judged, the worst on me must light, 
When time shall be; for so I undertook 
Before thee, and, not repenting, this obtain 
Of right, that I may mitigate their doom 
On me derived; yet I shall temper so 
Justice with mercy, as may illustrate most 
Them fully satisfied, and thee appease. 
Attendance none shall need, nor train, where none 80 
Are to behold the judgment but the judged, 
Those two; the third best absent is condemned, 
Convict by flight, and rebel to all law: 
Conviction to the Serpent none belongs." 

Thus saying, from his radiant seat he rose 
Of high collateral glory; Him Thrones and Powers, 
Princedoms, and Dominations ministrant 
Accompanied to Heaven-gate, from whence 


Eden and all the coast in prospect lay. 

Down he descended straight; the speed of Gods 90 

Time counts not, though with swiftest minutes winged. 

Now was the sun in western cadence low 
From noon, and gentle airs due at their hour 
To fan the Earth now waked, and usher in 
The evening cool, when he, from wrath more cool, 
Came, the mild Judge and Intercessor both, 
To sentence Man. The voice of God they heard 
Now walking in the garden, by soft winds 
Brought to their ears, while day declined; they heard, 
And from his presence hid themselves among 100 

The thickest trees, both man and wife, till God, 
Approaching, thus to Adam called aloud: 

"Where art thou, Adam, wont with joy to meet 
My coming seen far off? I miss thee here, 
Not pleased, thus entertained with solitude, 
Where obvious duty erewhile appeared unsought. 
Or come I less conspicuous, or what change 
Absents thee, or what chance detains? Come forth." 

He came, and with him Eve, more loth, though first 
To offend, discountenanced both, and discomposed; no 
Love was not in their looks, either to God 
Or to each other, but apparent guilt, 
And shame, and perturbation, and despair, 
Anger, and obstinacy, and hate, and guile. 
Whence Adam, faltering long, thus answered brief: 

"I heard thee in the garden, and of thy voice 
Afraid, being naked, hid myself." To whom 
The gracious Judge without revile replied : 

"My voice thou oft hast heard, and hast not feared, 
But still rejoiced; how is it now become 120 

So dreadful to thee? That thou art naked, who 

BOOK X. 28l 

Hath told thee? Hast thou eaten of the tree, 

Whereof I gave thee charge thou shouldst not eat?" 
To whom thus Adam, sore beset, replied: 
"O Heaven 1 in evil strait this day I stand 

Before my Judge either to undergo 

Myself the total crime, or to accuse 

My other self, the partner of my life; 

Whose failing, while her faith to me remains, 

I should conceal, and not expose to blame 130 

By my complaint; but strict necessity 

Subdues me, and calamitous constraint, 

Lest on my head both sin and punishment, 

However insupportable, be all 

Devolved; though should I hold my peace, yet thou 

Wouldst easily detect what I conceal. 

This woman, whom thou mad'st to be my help, 

And gav'st me as thy perfect gift, so good, 

So fit, so acceptable, so divine, 

That from her hand I could suspect no ill, 140 

f And what she did, whatever in itself, 

Her doing seemed to justify the deed; 

She gave me of the tree, and I did eat." 
To whom the Sovran Presence thus replied: 
"Was she thy God, that her thou didst obey 

Before his voice? or was she made thy guide, 

Superior, or but equal, that to her 

Thou didst resign thy manhood, and the place 

Wherein God set thee above her, made of thee 

And for thee, whose perfection far excelled 150 

Hers in all real dignity? Adorned 

She was indeed, and lovely, to attract 

Thy love, not thy subjection; and her gifts 

Were such as under government well seemed, 


Unseemly to bear rule; which was thy part 
And person, hadst thou known thyself aright." 

So having said, he thus to Eve in few : 
"Say, Woman, what is this which thou hast done?" 

To whom sad Eve, with shame nigh overwhelmed, 
Confessing soon, yet not before her Judge 160 

Bold or loquacious, thus abashed replied: 
"The Serpent me beguiled, and I did eat." 

Which when the Lord God heard, without delay 
To judgment he proceeded on the accused 
Serpent, though brute, unable to transfer 
The guilt on him who made him instrument 
Of mischief, and polluted from the end 
Of his creation; justly then accursed, 
As vitiated in nature. More to know 
Concerned not Man (since he no further knew), 170 

Nor altered his offence; yet God at last 
To Satan, first in sin, his doom applied, 
Though in mysterious terms, judged as then best; 
And on the Serpent thus his curse let fall: 

"Because thou hast done this, thou art accursed 
Above all cattle, each beast of the field; 
Upon thy belly grovelling thou shalt go, 
And dust shalt eat all the days of thy life. 
Between thee and the Woman I will put 
Enmity, and between thine and her seed; 180 

Her seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his heel." 

So spake this oracle, then verified 
When Jesus, son of Mary, second Eve, 
Saw Satan fall like lightning down from Heaven, 
Prince of the air; then, rising from his grave, 
Spoiled Principalities and Powers, triumphed 
In open show, and with ascension bright 

BOOK X. 283 

Captivity led captive through the air, 
The realm itself of Satan long usurped, 
Whom he shall tread at last under our feet; 190 

Even he who now foretold his fatal bruise, 
And to the Woman thus his sentence turned: 
r ' "Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply 
By thy conception ; children thou shalt bring 
In sorrow forth; and to thy husband's will 
Thine shall submit; he over thee shall rule." 

On Adam last thus judgment he pronounced: 
" Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, 
And eaten of the tree, concerning which 
I charged thee, saying, 'Thou shalt not eat thereof,' 200 
Curs'd is the ground for thy sake; thou in sorrow 
Shalt eat thereof all the days of thy life ; 
Thorns also and thistles it shall bring thee forth 
Unbid ; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field ; 
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, 
Till thou return unto the ground; for thou 
Out of the ground wast taken : know thy birth, 
For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return." 

So judged he Man, both Judge and Saviour sent, 
And the instant stroke of death, denounced that day, 210 
Removed far off; then, pitying how they stood 
Before him naked to the air, that now 
Must suffer change, disdained not to begin 
Thenceforth the form of servant to assume; 
As when he washed his servants' feet, so now, 
As father of his family, he clad 
Their nakedness with skins of beasts, or slain, 
Or as the snake with youthful coat repaid; 
And thought not much to clothe his enemies. 
Nor he their outward only with the skins 220 


Of beasts, but inward nakedness, much more 
Opprobrious, with his robe of righteousness 
Arraying, covered from his Father's sight. 
To him with swift ascent he up returned, 
Into his blissful bosom reassumed 
In glory as of old; to him appeased, 
All, though all-knowing, what had passed with Man 
Recounted, mixing intercession sweet. 
f~~ Meanwhile, ere thus was sinned and judged on Earth, 
' Within the gates of Hell sat Sin and Death, 230 

In counterview within the gates, that now 
Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame 
Far into Chaos, since the Fiend passed through, 
Sin opening ; who thus now to Death began : 
* " O Son, why sit we here each other viewing 
Idly, while Satan, our great author, thrives 
In other worlds, and happier seat provides 
For us, his offspring dear? It cannot be . 
But that success attends him ; if mishap, 
Ere this he had returned, with fury driven 240 

By his avengers, since no place like this 
Can fit his punishment, or their revenge. 
Methinks I feel new strength within me rise, 
Wings growing, and dominion given me large 
Beyond this Deep, whatever draws me on, 
Or sympathy, or some connatural force, 
Powerful at greatest distance to unite 
With secret amity things of like kind 
By secretest conveyance. Thou, my shade 
Inseparable, must with me along; 250 

For Death from Sin no power can separate. 
But, lest the difficulty of passing back 
Stay his return perhaps over this gulf 

BOOK X. 285 

Impassable, impervious, let us try 

Adventurous work, yet to thy power and mine 

Not unagreeable, to found a path 

Over this main from Hell to that new World 

Where Satan now prevails ; a monument 

Of merit high to all the infernal host, 

Easing their passage hence, for intercourse 260 

Or transmigration, as their lot shall lead. 

Nor can I miss the way, so strongly drawn 

By this new-felt attraction and instinct." 

Whom thus the meagre Shadow answered soon : 
"Go whither fate and inclination strong 
Leads thee; I shall not lag behind, nor err 
The way, thou leading ; such a scent I draw 
Of carnage, prey innumerable, and taste 
The savour of death from all things there that live. 
Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest 270 

Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid." 

So saying, with delight he snuffed the smell 
Of mortal change on Earth. As when a flock 
Of ravenous fowl, though many a league remote, 
Against the day of battle, to a field, 
Where armies lie encamped, come flying, lured 
With scent of living carcases designed 
For death the following day in bloody fight: 
So scented the grim Feature, and upturned 
His nostril wide into the murky air, 280 

Sagacious of his quarry from so far. 
Then both, from out Hell- gates, into the waste 
Wide anarchy of Chaos damp and dark 
Flew diverse, and with power (their power was great) 
Hovering upon the waters, what they met 
Solid or slimy, as in raging sea 


Tossed up and down, together crowded drove, 

From each side shoaling, towards the mouth of Hell ; 

As when two polar winds, blowing adverse 

Upon the Cronian sea, together drive 290 

Mountains of ice, that stop the imagined way 

Beyond Petsora eastward, to the rich 

Cathaian coast. The aggregated soil 

Death with his mace petrific, cold and dry, 

As with a trident smote, and fixed as firm 

As Delos, floating once; the rest his look 

Bound with Gorgonian rigour not to move, 

And with asphaltic slime; broad as the gate 

Deep to the roots of Hell the gathered beach 

They fastened, and the mole immense wrought on 300 

Over the foaming Deep high-arched, a bridge 

Of length prodigious, joining to the wall 

Immovable of this now fenceless World, 

Forfeit to Death; from hence a passage broad, 

Smooth, easy, inoffensive, down to Hell. 

So, if great things to small may be compared, 

Xerxes, the liberty of Greece to yoke, 

From Susa, his Memnonian palace high, 

Came to the sea, and, over Hellespont 

Bridging his way, Europe with Asia joined, 310 

And scourged with many a stroke the indignant waves. 

Now had they brought the work by wondrous art 

Pontifical, a ridge of pendent rock, 

Over the vexed Abyss, following the track 

Of Satan, to the self-same place where he 

First lighted from his wing, and landed safe 

From out of Chaos, to the outside bare 

Of this round World. With pins of adamant 

And chains they made all fast, too fast they made 

BOOK X. 287 

And durable; and now in little space 320 

The confines met of empyrean Heaven 

And of this World, and on the left hand Hell 

With long reach interposed; three several ways, 

In sight, to each of these three places led. 

And now their way to Earth they had descried, 

To Paradise first tending, when, behold 

Satan, in likeness of an Angel bright, 

Betwixt the Centaur and the Scorpion steering 

His zenith, while the sun in Aries rose ! 

Disguised he came; but those his children dear 330 

Their parent soon discerned, though in disguise. 

He, after Eve seduced, unminded slunk 

Into the wood fast by, and, changing shape 

To observe the sequel, saw his guileful act 

By Eve, though all unweeting, seconded 

Upon her husband, saw their shame that sought 

Vain covertures; bat when he saw descend 

The Son of God to judge them, terrified 

He fled, not hoping to escape, but shun 

The present, fearing guilty what his wrath 340 

Might suddenly inflict; that past, returned 

By night, and listening where the hapless pair 

Sat in their sad discourse and various plaint, 

Thence gathered his own doom; which understood 

Not instant, but of future time, with joy L -, 

And tidings fraught, to Hell he now returned, / 

And at the brink of Chaos, near the foot 

Of this new wondrous pontifice, unhoped 

Met who to meet him came, his offspring dear. 

Great joy was at their meeting, and at sight 350 

Of that stupendous bridge his joy increased. 

Long he admiring stood, till Sin, his fair 


Enchanting daughter, thus the silence broke: 

"O Parent, these are thy magnific deeds, 
Thy trophies, which thou view'st as not thine own; 
Thou art their author and prime architect; 
For I no sooner in my heart divined 
(My heart, which by a secret harmony 
Still moves with thine, joined in connexion swtct) 
That thou on Earth hadst prospered, which thy looks 360 
Now also evidence, but straight I felt, 
Though distant from thee worlds between, yet felt 
That I must after thee with this thy son; 
Such fatal consequence unites us three. 
Hell could no longer hold us in her bounds, 
Nor this unvoyageable gulf obscure 
Detain from following thy illustrious track. 
Thou hast achieved our liberty, confined 
Within Hell-gates till now; thou us empowered 
To fortify thus far, and overlay 370 

With this portentous bridge the dark Abyss. 
Thine now is all this World; thy virtue hath won 
What thy hands builded not, thy wisdom gained 
With odds what war hath lost, and fully avenged 
Our foil in Heaven : here thou shalt monarch reign, 
There didst not; there let him still victor sway, 
As battle hath adjudged, from this new World 
Retiring, by his own doom alienated, 
And henceforth monarchy with thee divide 
Of all things, parted by the empyreal bounds, 380 

His quadrature, from thy orbicular World, 
Or try thee now more dangerous to his throne." 

Whom thus the Prince of Darkness answered glad : 
| " Fair daughter, and thou son and grandchild both, 
| High proof ye now have given to be the race 

BOOK X. 289 

Of Satan (for I glory in the name, 

Antagonist of Heaven's Almighty King), 

Amply have merited of me, of all 

The infernal empire, that so near Heaven's door 

Triumphal with triumphal act have met, 390 

Mine with this glorious work, and made one realm 

Hell and this World one realm, one continent 

Of easy thoroughfare. Therefore, while I 

Descend through darkness, on your road with ease, 

To my associate Powers, them to acquaint 

With these successes, and with them rejoice, 

You two this way, among these numerous orbs, 

All yours, right down to Paradise descend ; 

There dwell and reign in bliss ; thence on the Earth 

Dominion exercise and in the air, 400 

Chiefly on Man, sole lord of all declared; 

Him first make sure your thrall, and lastly kill. 

My substitutes I send ye, and create 

Plenipotent on Earth, of matchless might 

Issuing from me : on yo.ur joint vigour now 

My hold of this new kingdom all depends, 

Through Sin to Death exposed by my exploit. 

If your joint power prevail, the affairs of Hell 

No detriment need fear; go, and be strong." 

So saying, he dismissed them; they with speed 410 
Their course through thickest constellations held, 
Spreading their bane; the blasted stars looked wan, 
And planets, planet-struck, real eclipse 
Then suffered. The other way Satan went down 
The causey to Hell-gate; on either side 
Disparted Chaos over-built exclaimed, 
And with rebounding surge the bars assailed, 
That scorned his indignation. Through the gate, 

P. L. I9 


Wide open and unguarded, Satan passed, 

And all about found desolate; for those 420 

Appointed to sit there had left their charge, 

Flown to the upper World; the rest were all 

Far to the inland retired, about the walls 

Of Pandemonium, city and proud seat 

Of Lucifer, so by allusion called 

Of that bright star to Satan paragoned; 

There kept their watch the legions, while the Grand 

In council sat, solicitous what chance 

Might intercept their Emperor sent; so he 

Departing gave command, and they observed. 430 

As when the Tartar from his Russian foe, 

By Astracan, over the snowy plains 

Retires, or Bactrian Sophi, from the horns 

Of Turkish crescent, leaves all waste beyond 

The realm of Aladule, in his retreat 

To Tauris or Casbeen: so these, the late 

Heaven-banished host, left desert utmost Hell 

Many a dark league, reduced in careful watch 

Round their metropolis, and now expecting 

Each hour their great adventurer from the search 440 

Of foreign worlds. He through the midst unmarked, 

In show plebeian Angel militant 

Of lowest order, passed ; and, from the door 

Of that Plutonian hall, invisible 

Ascended his high throne, which, under state 

Of richest texture spread, at the upper end 

Was placed in regal lustre. Down a while 

He sat, and round about him saw unseen. 

At last, as from a cloud, his fulgent head 

And shape star-bright appeared, or brighter, clad 450 

With what permissive glory since his fall 


2 9 I 

Was left him, or false glitter. All amazed 
At that so sudden blaze, the Stygian throng 
Bent their aspect, and whom they wished beheld, 
Their mighty Chief returned : loud was the acclaim. 
Forth rushed in haste the great consulting peers, 
Raised from their dark divan, and with like joy 
Congratulant approached him, who with hand 
Silence, and with these words attention, won: 

"Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers ! 460 
For in possession such, not only of right, 
I call ye, and declare ye now, returned, 
Successful beyond hope, to lead ye forth 
Triumphant out of this infernal pit 
Abominable, accursed, the house of woe, 
And dungeon of our tyrant ! Now possess, 
As lords, a spacious World, to our native Heaven 
Little inferior, by my adventure hard 
With peril great achieved. Long were to tell 
What I have done, what suffered, with what pain 470 
Voyaged the unreal, vast^ unbounded Deep 
Of horrible confusion, over which 
By Sin and Death a broad way now is paved, 
To expedite your glorious march; but I 
Toiled out my uncouth passage, forced to ride 
The untractable Abyss, plunged in the womb 
Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wild, 
That, jealous of their secrets, fiercely opposed 
My journey strange, with clamorous uproar 
Protesting Fate supreme; thence how I found 480 

The new-created World, which fame in Heaven 
Long had foretold, a fabric wonderful, 
Of absolute perfection; therein Man 
Placed in a Paradise, by our exile 

19 2 


Made happy. Him by fraud I have seduced 

From his Creator, and, the more to increase 

Your wonder, with an apple! He, thereat 

Offended worth your laughter ! hath given up 

Both his beloved Man and all his World 

To Sin and Death a prey, and so to us, 

Without our hazard, labour, or alarm, 

To range in, and to dwell, and over Man 

To rule, as over all he should have ruled. 

True is, me also he hath judged, or rather 

Me not, but the brute serpent, in whose shape 

Man I deceived: that which to me belongs 

Is enmity, which he will put between 

Me and mankind; I am to bruise his heel; 

His seed when is not set shall bruise my head : 

A world who would not purchase with a bruise, 

Or much more grievous pain? Ye have the account 

Of my performance ; what remains, ye Gods, 

But up and enter now into full bliss?" 

So having said, a while he stood, expecting 
Their universal shout and high applause 
To fill his ear; when, contrary, he hears, 
On all sides, from innumerable tongues, 
A dismal universal hiss, the sound 
Of public scorn. He wondered, but not long . 
Had leisure, wondering at himself now more; 51 

His visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare, 
His arms clung to his ribs, his legs entwining 
Each other, till, supplanted, down he fell 
A monstrous serpent on his belly prone, 
Reluctant, but in vain; a greater power 
Now ruled him, punished in the shape he sinned, 
According to his doom. He would have spoke, 

BOOK X. 293 

But hiss for hiss returned with forked tongue 

To forked tongue; for now were all transformed 

Alike, to serpents all, as accessories 520 

To his bold riot. Dreadful was the din 

Of hissing through the hall, thick-swarming now 

With complicated monsters, head and tail, 

Scorpion, and asp, and amphisbasna dire, 

Cerastes horned, hydrus, and ellops drear, 

And dipsas (not so thick swarmed once the soil 

Bedropt with blood of Gorgon, or the isle 

Ophiusa); but still greatest he the midst, 

Now dragon grown, larger than whom the sun 

Engendered in the Pythian vale on slime, 530 

Huge Python; and his power no less he seemed 

Above the rest still to retain. They all 

Him followed, issuing forth to the open field, 

Where all yet left of that revolted rout, 

Heaven-fallen, in station stood or just array, 

Sublime with expectation when to see 

In triumph issuing forth their glorious Chief; 

They saw, but other sight instead, a crowd 

Of ugly serpents ! Horror on them fell, 

And horrid sympathy; for what they saw 540 

They felt themselves now changing : down their arms, 

Down fell both spear and shield; down they as fast, 

And the dire hiss renewed, and the dire form 

Catched by contagion, like in punishment, 

As in their crime. Thus was the applause they meant 

Turned to exploding hiss, triumph to shame 

Cast on themselves from their own mouths. There stood 

A grove hard by, sprung up with this their change, 

His will who reigns above, to aggravate 

Their penance, laden with fair fruit, like that 550 


Which grew in Paradise, the bait of Eve 
Used by the Tempter. On that prospect strange 
Their earnest eyes they fixed, imagining 
For one forbidden tree a multitude 
Now risen, to work them further woe or shame; 
Yet, parched with scalding thirst and hunger fierce, 
Though to delude them sent, could not abstain, 
But on they rolled in heaps, and, up the trees 
Climbing, sat thicker than the snaky locks 
That curled Megaera. Greedily they plucked 560 

The fruitage fair to sight, like that which grew 
Near that bituminous lake where Sodom flamed; 
This, more delusive, not the touch, but taste 
Deceived; they, fondly thinking to allay 
Their appetite with gust, instead of fruit 
Chewed bitter ashes, which the offended taste 
With spattering noise rejected. Oft they assayed, 
Hunger and thirst constraining; drugged as oft, 
With hatefulest disrelish writhed their jaws, 
With soot and cinders filled; so oft they fell 570 

Into the same illusion, not as Man 

Whom they triumphed once lapsed. Thus were they plagued 
And worn with famine long, and ceaseless hiss, 
Till their lost shape, permitted, they resumed; 
Yearly enjoined, some say, to undergo 
This annual humbling certain numbered days, 
To dash their pride, and joy for Man seduced. 
However, some tradition they dispersed 
Among the heathen of their purchase got, 
And fabled how the Serpent, whom they called 580 

Ophion, with Eurynome (the wide- 
Encroaching Eve perhaps), had first the rule 
Of high Olympus, thence by Saturn driven 

BOOK X. 295 

And Ops, ere yet Dictsean Jove was born. 
Meanwhile in Paradise the Hellish pair 

Too soon arrived; Sin there in power before, 

Once actual, now in body, and to dwell 

Habitual habitant; behind her Death, 

Close following pace for pace, not mounted yet 

On his pale horse ; to whom Sin thus began : 590 

" Second of Satan sprung, all-conquering Death ! 

What think'st thou of our empire now, though earned 

With travail difficult? not better far 

Than still at Hell's dark threshold to have sat watch, 

Unnamed, undreaded, and thyself half-starved ? " 
Whom thus the Sin-born Monster answered soon : 

"To me, who with eternal famine pine, 

Alike is Hell, or Paradise, or Heaven; 

There best, where most with ravin I may meet; 

Which here, though plenteous, all too little seems 600 

To stuff this maw, this vast unhide-bound corpse." 

To whom the incestuous Mother thus replied: 
"Thou therefore on these herbs, and fruits, and flowers, 
Feed first; on each beast next, and fish, and fowl, 
No homely morsels; and whatever thing 
The scythe of Time mows down devour unspared; 
Till I, in Man residing, through the race, 
His thoughts, his looks, words, actions, all infect, 
And season him thy last and sweetest prey." 

This said, they both betook them several ways, 610 
Both to destroy, or unimmortal make 
All kinds, and for destruction to mature 
Sooner or later ; which the Almighty seeing, 
From his transcendent seat the Saints among, 
To those bright Orders uttered thus his voice: 
"See with what heat these dogs of Hell advance 


To waste and havoc yonder World, which I 

So fair and good created, and had still 

Kept in that state, had not the folly of Man 

Let in these wasteful furies, who impute 620 

Folly to me (so doth the Prince of Hell 

And his adherents), that with so much ease 

I suffer them to enter and possess 

A place so heavenly, and conniving seem 

To gratify my scornful enemies, 

That laugh, as if, transported with some fit 

Of passion, I to them had quitted all, 

At random yielded up to their misrule; 

And know not that I called and drew them thither, 

My Hell-hounds, to lick up the draff and filth 630 

Which Man's polluting sin with taint hath shed 

On what was pure; till, crammed and gorged, nigh burst 

With sucked and glutted offal, at one sling 

Of thy victorious arm, well-pleasing Son, 

Both Sin, and Death, and yawning Grave at last, 

Through Chaos hurled, obstruct the mouth of Hell 

For ever, and seal up his ravenous jaws. 

Then Heaven and Earth, renewed, shall be made pure 

To sanctity that shall receive no stain : 

Till then the curse pronounced on both precedes." 640 

He ended, and the Heavenly audience loud 
Sung Halleluiah, as the sound of seas, 
Through multitude that sung : " Just are thy ways, 
Righteous are thy decrees on all thy works; 
Who can extenuate thee?" Next, to the Son, 
Destined restorer of mankind, by whom 
New Heaven and Earth shall to the ages rise, 
Or down from Heaven descend. Such was their song, 
While the Creator, calling forth by name 

BOOK X. ?99 

His mighty Angels, gave them several charge, 650 

As sorted best with present things. The sun 

Had first his precept so to move, so shine, 

As might affect the Earth with cold and heat 

Scarce tolerable, and from the north to call 

Decrepit winter, from the south to bring 

Solstitial summer's heat. To the blanc moon 

Her office they prescribed; to the other five 

Their planetary motions and aspects, 

In sextile, square, and trine, and opposite, 

Of noxious efficacy, and when to join 660 

In synod unbenign ; and taught the fixed 

Their influence malignant when to shower; 

Which of them rising with the sun, or falling, 

Should prove tempestuous. To the winds they set 

Their corners, when with bluster to confound 

Sea, air, and shore; the thunder when to roll 

With terror through the dark aerial hall. 

Some say he bid his Angels turn askance 

The poles of Earth twice ten degrees and more 

From the sun's axle; they with labour pushed 670 

Oblique the centric globe : some say the sun 

Was bid turn reins from the equinoctial road 

Like distant breadth to Taurus with the seven 

Atlantic Sisters, and the Spartan Twins, 

Up to the Tropic Crab; thence down amain 

By Leo and the Virgin and the Scales, 

As deep as Capricorn ; to bring in change 

Of seasons to each clime : else had the spring 

Perpetual smiled on Earth with vernant flowers, 

Equal in days and nights, except to those 680 

Beyond the polar circles; to them day 

Had unbenighted shone, while the low sun, 



To recompense his distance, in their sight 

Had rounded still the horizon, and not known 

Or east or west; which had forbid the snow 

From cold Estotiland, and south as far 

Beneath Magellan. At that tasted fruit 

The sun, as from Thyestean banquet, turned 

His course intended: else how had the World 

Inhabited, though sinless, more than now 690 

Avoided pinching cold and scorching heat? 

These changes in the heavens, though slow, produced 

Like change on sea and land, sideral blast, 

Vapour, and mist, and exhalation hot, 

Corrupt and pestilent. Now from the north 

Of Norumbega, and the Samoed shore, 

Bursting their brazen dungeon, armed with ice 

And snow and hail and stormy gust and flaw, 

Boreas and Csecias and Argestes loud 

And Thrascias rend the woods and seas upturn ; 700 

With adverse blasts upturns them from the south 

Notus and Afer black with thundrous clouds 

From Serraliona; thwart of these, as fierce 

Forth rush the Levant and the Ponent winds, 

Eurus and Zephyr with their lateral noise, 

Sirocco, and L'ibecchio. Thus began 

Outrage from lifeless things ; but Discord first, 

Daughter of Sin, among the irrational 

Death introduced through fierce antipathy : 

Beast now with beast 'gan war, and fowl with fowl, 710 

And fish with fish; to graze the herb all leaving 

Devoured each other; nor stood much in awe 

Of Man, but fled him, or with countenance grim 

Glared on him passing. These were from without 

The growing miseries, which Adam saw 

BOOK X. 299 

Already in part, though hid in gloomiest shade, 
To sorrow abandoned, but worse felt within, 
And, in a troubled sea of passion tost, 
Thus^ to disburden sought with sad complaint : 

"O miserable of happy! is this the end 720 

Of this new glorious World, and me so late 
The glory of that glory? who now, become 
Accursed of blessed, hide me from the face 
Of God, whom to behold was then my highth 
Of happiness ! Yet well, if here would end 
The misery; I deserved it, and would bear 
My own deservings ; but this will not serve : 
All that I eat or drink, or shall beget, 

: Is propagated curse. O voice, once heard 
j Delightfully, 'Increase and multiply'; 730 

V Now death to hear ! for what can I increase 

^Or multiply, but curses on my head? 
Who, of all ages to succeed, but, feeling 
The evil on him brought by me, will curse 

I My head ? * 111 fare our Ancestor impure ! 
For this we may thank- Adam ! ' but his thanks 
Shall be the execration ; so, besides 
Mine own that bide upon me, all from me 
Shall with a fierce reflux on me redound, 
On me, as on their natural centre, light 740 

Heavy, though in their place. O fleeting joys 

I Of Paradise, dear bought with lasting woes ! 
Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay 
To mould me Man? did I solicit thee 
From darkness to promote me, or here place 
In this delicious garden? As my will 
Concurred not to my being, it were but right 
And equal to reduce me to my dust, 


Desirous to resign and render back 

All I received, unable to perform 750 

Thy terms too hard, by which I was to hold 
The good I sought not. To the loss of that, 
Sufficient penalty, why hast thou added 
The sense of endless woes? inexplicable 
Thy justice seems. Yet, to say truth, too late 
I thus contest; then should have been refused 
Those terms whatever, when they were proposed. 
Thou didst accept them : wilt thou enjoy the good, 
Then cavil the conditions? And though God 
Made thee without thy leave, what if thy son 760 

Prove disobedient, and, reproved, retort, 
'Wherefore didst thou beget me? I sought it notl* 
Wouldst thou admit for his contempt of thee 
That proud excuse? yet him not thy election, 
But natural necessity, begot. 

God made thee of choice his own, and of his own 
To serve him ; thy reward was of his grace ; 
Thy punishment then justly is at his will. 
Be it so, for I submit ; his doom is fair, 
That dust I am, and shall to dust return. 770 

O welcome hour whenever ! Why delays 
His hand to execute what his decree 
Fixed on this day? Why do I overlive? 
Why am I mocked with death, and lengthened out 
To deathless pain? How gladly would I meet 
Mortality, my sentence, and be earth 
Insensible ! how glad would lay me down 
As in my mother's lap ! There I should rest 
:And sleep secure; his dreadful voice no more 
Would thunder in my ears ; no fear of worse 780 

To me and to my offspring would torment me 

BOOK X. 301 

With cruel expectation. Yet one doubt 

Pursues me still, lest all I cannot die; 

I.est that pure breath of life, the spirit of Man 

Which God inspired, cannot together perish 

With this corporeal clod; then, in the grave, 

Or in some other dismal place, who knows 

But I shall die a living death? O thought 

Horrid, if true ! Yet why? It was but breath 

Of life that sinned : what dies but what had life 790 

And sin? the body properly hath neither. 

All of me then shall die: let this appease 

The doubt, since human reach no further knows. 

For though the Lord of all be infinite, 

Is his wrath also? Be it, Man is not so, 

But mortal doomed. How can he exercise 

Wrath without end on Man, whom death must end? 

Can he make deathless death? That were to make 

Strange contradiction ; which to God himself 

Impossible is held, as argument 800 

Of weakness, not of power. Will he draw out, 

For anger's sake, finite, to infinite 

In punished Man, to satisfy his rigour 

Satisfied never? That were to extend 

His sentence beyond dust and Nature's law; 

By which all causes else according still 

To the reception of their matter act, 

Not to the extent of their own sphere. But say 

That death be not one stroke, as I supposed, 

Bereaving sense, but endless misery 810 

From this day onward, which I feel begun 

Both in me and without me, and so last 

To perpetuity Ay me ! that fear 

Comes thundering back with dreadful revolution 


On my defenceless head ! Both Death and I 
Am found eternal, and incorporate both : 
Nor I on my part single; in me all 
Posterity stands cursed. Fair patrimony 
That I must leave ye, sons ! Oh, were I able 
To waste it all myself, and leave ye none! 820 

So disinherited, how would ye bless 
Me, now your curse ! Ah, why should all mankind, 
For one man's fault, thus guiltless be condemned, 
If guiltless ? But from me what can proceed 
But all corrupt, both mind and will depraved 
Not to do only, but to will the same 
With me? How can they then acquitted stand 
In sight of God? Him, after all disputes, 
Forced I absolve; all my evasions vain 
And reasonings, though through mazes, lead me still 830 
But to my own conviction : first and last 
On me, me only, as the source and spring 
Of all corruption, all the blame lights due; 
; So might the wrath ! Fond wish ! couldst thou support 
That burden, heavier than the Earth to bear; 
Than all the World much heavier, though divided 
With that bad woman? Thus, what thou desir'st, 
And what thou fear'st, alike destroys all hope 
Of refuge, and concludes thee miserable 
Beyond all past example and future; 840 

To Satan only like, both crime and doom. 

Conscience ! into what abyss of fears 

And horrors hast thou driven me; out of which 

1 find no way, from deep to deeper plunged!" * 
J Thus Adam to himself lamented loud 
[Through the still night, not now, as ere Man fell, 
I Wholesome and cool and mild, but with black air 

BOOK X. 303 

Accompanied, with damps and dreadful gloom; 

Which to his evil conscience represented 

All things with double terror. On the ground 850 

Outstretched he lay, on the cold ground, and oft 

Cursed his creation; Death as oft accused 

Of tardy execution, since denounced 

The day of his offence. " Why comes not Death," 

Said he, "with one thrice-acceptable stroke 

To end me? Shall Truth fail to keep her word, 

Justice divine not hasten to be just? 

But Death comes not at call; Justice divine 

Mends not her slowest pace for prayers or cries. 

O woods, O fountains, hillocks, dales, and bowers ! 860 

With other echo late I taught your shades 

To answer, and resound far other song." 

Whom thus afflicted when sad Eve beheld, 

Desolate where she sat, approaching nigh, 

Soft words to his fierce passion she assayed; 

But her with stern regard he thus repelled : 

" Out of my sight, thou serpent ! that name best 
Befits thee, with him leagued, thyself as false 
And hateful : nothing wants, but that thy shape, 
Like his, and colour serpentine, may show 870 

Thy inward fraud, to warn all creatures from thee 
Henceforth; lest that too heavenly form, pretended 
To hellish falsehood, snare them. But for thee 
^ had persisted happy, had not thy pride 
And wandering vanity, when least was safe, 
Rejected my forewarning, and disdained 
Not to be trusted, longing to be seen, 
Though by the Devil himself, him overweening 
To overreach; but, with the Serpent meeting, 
Fooled and beguiled; by him thou, I by thee, 880 


To trust thee from my side, imagined wise, 
> Constant, mature, proof against all assaults ; 
^ Yy\nd understood not all was but a show, 
tkather than solid virtue, all but a rib 
Crooked by nature bent, as now appears, 
"More to the part sinister from me drawn; 
Well if thrown out, as supernumerary 
To my just number found ! Oh, why did God, 
Creator wise, that peopled highest Heaven 
With Spirits masculine, create at last 890 

This novelty on Earth, this fair defect 
Of Nature, and not fill the World at once 
With men, as Angels, without feminine; 
Or find some other way to generate 
Mankind? This mischief had not then befallen, 
And more that shall befall innumerable 
Disturbances on Earth through female snares, 
PAnd strait conjunction with this sex^. For either 
He never shall find out fit mate, but such 
As some misfortune brings him, or mistake; 900 

Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain, 
Through her perverseness, but shall see her gained 
By a far worse, or, if she love, withheld 
By parents; or his happiest choice too late 
Shall meet, already linked and wedlock-bound 
To a fell adversary, his hate or shame : 
Which infinite calamity shall cause 
I To human life, and household peace confound." 
He added not, and from her turned; but Eve, 
Not so repulsed, with tears that ceased not flowing, 910 
And tresses all disordered, at his feet 
Fell humble, and, embracing them, besought 
His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint: 

BOOK X. 305 

" Forsake me not thus, Adam ! witness Heaven 
What love sincere and reverence in my heart 
I bear thee, and unweeting have offended, 
Unhappily deceived ! Thy suppliant 
I beg, and clasp thy knees; bereave me not, 
'Whereon I live, thy gentle looks, thy aid, 
Thy counsel in this uttermost distress, 920 

My only strength and stay : forlorn of thee, 
Whither shall I betake me, where subsist? 
**While yet we live, scarce one short hour perhaps, 
Between us two let there be peace ; both joining, 
' As joined in injuries, one enmity 

Against a foe by doom express assigned us, 

That cruel Serpent. On me exercise not 

Thy hatred for this misery befallen; 

On me already lost, me than thyself 

More miserable. Both have sinned; but thou 930 

Against God only; I against God and thee, 

And to the place of judgment will return, 

There with my cries importune Heaven, that all 

The sentence, from thy head removed, may light 

On me, sole cause to thee of all this woe, 

Me, me only, just object of His ire." 

She ended weeping; and her lowly plight, 
I Immovable till peace obtained from fault 
.! Acknowledged and deplored, in Adam wrought 
*" Commiseration. Soon his heart relented 940 

Towards her, his life so late and sole delight, 
Now at his feet submissive in distress, 
Creature so fair his reconcilement seeking, 
His counsel, whom she had displeased, his aid; 
As one disarmed, his anger all he lost, 
And thus with peaceful words upraised her soon : 

p. L. 



" Unwary, and too desirous, as before 
So now, of what thou know'st not, who desir'st 
The punishment all on thyself! Alas! 
Bear thine own first, ill able to sustain 950 

His full wrath, whose thou feel'st as yet least part, 
And my displeasure bear'st so ill. If prayers 
Could alter high decrees, I to that place 
Would speed before thee, and be louder heard, 
That on my head all might be visited, 
Thy frailty and infirmer sex forgiven, 
j To me committed, and by me exposed. 
" But rise ; let us no more contend, nor blame 
Each other, blamed enough elsewhere, but strive 
In offices of love, how we may lighten 960 

C-*. Each other's burden, in our share of woe; 

Since this day's death denounced, if aught I see, 
Will prove no sudden, but a slow-paced evil, 
A long day's dying, to augment our pain, 
..A/id to our seed (O hapless seed !) derived." 

To whom thus Eve, recovering heart, replied: 
"Adam, by sad experiment I know 
How little weight my words with thee can find, 
.Found so erroneous, thence by just event 
Found so unfortunate; nevertheless, 970 

Restored by thee, vile as I am, to place 
Of new acceptance, hopeful to regain 
Thy love, the sole contentment of my heart, 
Living or dying from thee I will not hide 
What thoughts in my unquiet breast are risen, 
Tending to some relief of our extremes, 
Or end, though sharp and sad, yet tolerable, 
As in our evils, and of easier choice. 
If care of our descent perplex us most, 

BOOK X. 307 

Which must be born to certain woe, devoured 980 

By Death at last (and miserable it is 
To be to others cause of misery, 
Our own begotten, and of our loins to bring 
Into this cursed World a woeful race, 
That after wretched life must be at last 
Food for so foul a monster), in thy power 
It lies, yet ere conception, to prevent 
The race unblest, to being yet unbegot. 
Childless thou art, childless remain; so Death 
Shall be deceived his glut, and with us two 990 

Be forced to satisfy his ravenous maw. 
But if thou judge it hard and difficult, 
Conversing, looking, loving, to abstain 
From love's due rites, nuptial embraces sweet, 
ft^jAnd with desire to languish without hope, 
Before the present object languishing 
With like desire, which would be misery 

i And torment less than none of what we dread; 

L Then, both our selves and seed at once to free 
From what we fear for both, let us make short, 1000 

Let us seek Death, or, he not found, supply 
With our own hands his office on ourselves. 
Why stand we longer shivering under fears 
That show no end but death, and have the power, 
Of many ways to die the shortest choosing, 
Destruction with destruction to destroy?" 

She ended here, or vehement despair 
Broke off the rest ; so much of death her thoughts 
Had entertained as dyed her cheeks with pale. 
But Adam, with such counsel nothing swayed, 1010 

To better hopes his more attentive mind 
Labouring had raised, and thus to Eve replied: 

20 2 


"Eve, thy contempt of life and pleasure seems 
To argue in thee something more sublime 
And excellent than what thy mind contemns; 
But self-destruction therefore sought refutes 
That excellence thought in thee, and implies, 
Not thy contempt, but anguish and regret 
For loss of life and pleasure overloved. 
Or if thou covet death, as utmost end 1020 

Of misery, so thinking to evade 
The penalty pronounced, doubt not but God 
Hath wiselier armed his vengeful ire than so 
To be forestalled ; much more I fear lest death 
So snatched will not exempt us from the pain 
We are by doom to pay; rather such acts 
Of contumacy will provoke the Highest 
To make death in us live. Then let us seek 
Some safer resolution, which methinks 
I have in view, calling to mind with heed 1030 

Part of our sentence, that thy seed shall bruise 
The Serpent's head : piteous amends ! unless 
Be meant, whom I conjecture, our grand foe, 
Satan, who in the serpent hath contrived 
Against us this deceit. To crush his head 
Would be revenge indeed; which will be lost 
By death brought on ourselves, or childless days 
Resolved as thou proposest; so our foe 
Shall scape his punishment ordained, and we 
Instead shall double ours upon our heads. 1040 

No more be mentioned then of violence 
Against ourselves, and wilful barrenness, 
That cuts us off from hope, and savours only 
Rancour and pride, impatience and despite, 
Reluctance against God and his just yoke 

BOOK X. 309 

Laid on our necks. Remember with what mild 

And gracious temper he both heard and judged, 

Without wrath or reviling; we expected 

Immediate dissolution, which we thought 

Was meant by death that day; when, lo ! to thee 1050 

Pains only in child-bearing were foretold, 

And bringing forth, soon recompensed with joy, 

Fruit of thy womb ; on me the curse aslope 

Glanced on the ground : with iirtrurrr^im^ -earn 

My bread; what harm? Idleness- had- been worse ; 

My_Jabour will sustain ni; nnH r J4*sfc-f*4d 

Qrjigat should injure us, his timely care 

Hath, unbejsojight, -proJ4ed y -^and- his^ hands 

Clothed us unworthy, pitying while he judged ; 

How much more, if we pray frirn^ will hi? ^ar 1060 

Be open, and his heart to pity incline, 
jVnd. teach us further "by whaT means to shim 
The inr1pTT|frnfTeasons, ram, ice, hail, and snow! 
Which now the sky with various face begms 
To show us in this mountain, whife^trTe^winds 
Blow moist and keen," shattering the graceful locks 
Of these fair spreading trees ; which bids us seek 
Some better shroud, some better warmth to cherish 
Our limbs benumbed, ere this diurnal star 
Leave cold the night, how we his gathered beams 1070 
Reflected may with matter sere foment, 
Or by collision of two bodies grind 
The air attrite to fire; as late the clouds, 
Justling or pushed with winds, rude in their shock, 
Tine the slant lightning, whose thwart flame driven down 
Kindles the gummy bark of fir or pine, 
And sends a comfortable heat from far, 
Which might supply the sun. Such fire to use, 


And what may else be remedy or cure 

To evils which our own misdeeds have wrought, 1080 

He will instruct us praying, and of grace 

Beseeching him; so as we need not fear 

To pass commodiously this life, sustained 

By him with many comforts, till we end 

In dust, our final rest and native home. 

What better can we do, than, to the place 

Repairing where he judged us, prostrate fall 

Before him reverent, and there confess 

Humbly our faults, and pardon beg, with tears 

Watering the ground, and with our sighs the air 1090 

Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign 

Of sorrow unfeigned and humiliation meek? 

Undoubtedly he will relent, and turn 

From his displeasure; in whose look serene, 

When angry most he seemed and most severe, 

What else but favour, grace, and mercy shone ? " 

So spake our father penitent; nor Eve 
Felt less remorse. They, forthwith to the place 
Repairing where he judged them, prostrate fell 
Before him reverent, and both confessed noo 

Humbly their faults, and pardon begged, with tears 
Watering the ground, and with their sighs the air 
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign 
Of sorrow unfeigned and humiliation meek. 



The Son of God presents to his Father the prayers of our first 
parents now repenting, and intercedes for them. God accepts them, 
but declares that they must no longer abide in Paradise ; sends Michael 
with a band of Cherubim to dispossess them, but first to reveal to Adam 
future things : Michael's coming down. Adam shows to Eve certain 
ominous signs ; he discerns Michael's approach > goes out to meet him : 
the Angel denounces their departure. Eve's lamentation. Adam pleads, 
but submits : the Angel leads him up to a high hill ; sets before him in 
vision what shall happen till the Flood. 


THUS they, in lowliest plight, repentant stood 
Praying; for from the mercy-seat above 
Prevenient grace descending had removed 
The stony from their hearts, and made new flesh 
Regenerate grow instead, that sighs now breathed 
Unutterable, which the Spirit of prayer 
Inspired, and winged for Heaven with speedier flight 
Than loudest oratory. Yet their port 
Not of mean suitors, nor important less 
Seemed their petition than when the ancient pair 10 

In fables old, less ancient yet than these, 
Deucalion and chaste Pyrrha, to restore 
The race of mankind drowned, before the shrine 
Of Themis stood devout. To Heaven their prayers 
Flew up, nor missed the way, by envious winds 
Blown vagabond or frustrate : in they passed 
Dimensionless through heavenly doors; then, clad 
With incense, where the golden altar fumed, 
By their great Intercessor, came in sight 
Before the Father's throne. Them the glad Son 20 

Presenting thus to intercede began : 

"See, Father, what first-fruits on Earth are sprung 


From thy implanted grace in Man these sighs 

And prayers, which in this golden censer, mixed 

With incense, I, thy priest, before thee bring; 

Fruits of more pleasing savour, from thy seed 

Sown with contrition in his heart, than those 

Which, his own hand manuring, all the trees 

Of Paradise could have produced, ere fallen 

From innocence. Now, therefore, bend thine ear 30 

To supplication; hear his sighs, though mute: 

Unskilful with what words to pray, let me 

Interpret for him, me his advocate 

And propitiation; all his works on me, 

Good or not good, ingraft; my merit those 

Shall perfect, and for these my death shall pay. 

Accept me, and in me from these receive 

The smell of peace toward Mankind : let him live 

Before thee reconciled, at least his days 

Numbered, though sad ; till death, his doom (which I 40 

To mitigate thus plead, not to reverse), 

To better life shall yield him, where with me 

All my redeemed may dwell in joy and bliss, 

Made one with me, as I with thee am one." 

To whom the Father, without cloud, serene: 
"All thy request for Man, accepted Son, 
Obtain; all thy request was my decree. 
But longer in that Paradise to dwell 
The law I gave to Nature him forbids; 
Those pure immortal elements, that know 50 

No gross, no unharmonious mixture foul, 
Eject him, tainted now, and purge him off, 
As a distemper, gross, to air as gross, 
And mortal food, as may dispose him best 
For dissolution wrought by sin, that first 

BOOK XL 315 

Distempered all things, and of incorrupt 

Corrupted. I, at first, with two fair gifts 

Created him endowed with happiness 

And immortality ; that fondly lost, 

This other served but to eternize woe, 60 

Till I provided death : so death becomes 

His final remedy, and, after life 

Tried in sharp tribulation, and refined 

By faith and faithful works, to second life, 

Waked in the renovation of the just, 

Resigns him up with Heaven and Earth renewed. 

But let us call to Synod all the Blest 

Through Heaven's wide bounds ; from them I will not hide 

My judgments, how with Mankind I proceed, 

As how with peccant Angels late they saw, 70 

And in their state, though firm, stood more confirmed." 

He ended, and the Son gave signal high 
To the bright minister that watched. He blew 
His trumpet, heard in Oreb since perhaps 
When God descended, and perhaps once more 
To sound at general doom. The angelic blast 
Filled all the regions : from their blissful bowers 
Of amarantine shade, fountain or spring, 
By the waters of life, where'er they sat 
In fellowships of joy, the Sons of Light 80 

Hasted, resorting to the summons high, 
And took their seats, till from his throne supreme 
The Almighty thus pronounced his sovran will : 

"O Sons, like one of us Man is become 
To know both good and evil, since his taste 
Of that defended fruit; but let him boast 
His knowledge of good lost and evil got, 
Happier had it sufficed him to have known 


Good by itself, and evil not at all. 

He sorrows now, repents, and prays contrite 90 

My motions in him ; longer than they move, 

His heart I know how variable and vain, 

Self-left. Lest, therefore, his now bolder hand 

Reach also of the Tree of Life, and eat, 

And live for ever dream at least to live 

For ever to remove him I decree, 

And send him from the garden forth, to till 

The ground whence he was taken, fitter soil. 

Michael, this my behest have thou in charge : 

Take to thee from among the Cherubim 100 

Thy choice of flaming warriors, lest the Fiend, 

Or in behalf of Man, or to invade 

Vacant possession, some new trouble raise; 

Haste thee, and from the Paradise of God 

Without remorse drive out the sinful pair, 

From hallowed ground the unholy, and denounce 

To them, and to their progeny, from thence 

Perpetual banishment. Yet, lest they faint 

At the sad sentence rigorously .urged 

(For I behold them softened, and with tears no 

Bewailing their excess), all terror hide. 

If patiently thy bidding they obey, 

Dismiss them not disconsolate; reveal 

To Adam what shall come in future days, 

As I shall thee enlighten; intermix 

My covenant in the Woman's seed renewed. 

So send them forth, though sorrowing, yet in peace; 

And on the east side of the garden place, 

Where entrance up from Eden easiest climbs, 

Cherubic watch, and of a sword the flame 120 

Wide-waving, all approach far off to fright, 

BOOK XI. 317 

And guard all passage to the Tree of Life; 

Lest Paradise a receptacle prove 

To Spirits foul, and all my trees their prey, 

With whose stolen fruit Man once more to delude." 

He ceased, and the archangelic Power prepared 
For swift descent; with him the cohort bright 
Of watchful Cherubim. Four faces each 
Had, like a double Janus; all their shape 
Spangled with eyes more numerous than those 130 

Of Argus, and more wakeful than to drowse, 
Charmed with Arcadian pipe, the pastoral reed 
Of Hermes, or his opiate rod. Meanwhile, 
To resalute the world with sacred light, 
Leucothea waked, and with fresh dews embalmed 
The Earth; when Adam and first matron Eve 
Had ended now their orisons, and found 
Strength added from above; new hope to spring 
Out of despair ; joy, but with fear yet linked ; 
Which thus to Eve his welcome words renewed : 140 

"Eve, easily may faith admit that all 
The good which we enjoy from Heaven descends ; 
But that from us aught should ascend to Heaven 
So prevalent as to concern the mind 
Of God high-blest, or to incline his will, 
Hard to belief may seem ; yet this will prayer, 
Or one short sigh of human breath, upborne 
Even to the seat of God. For, since I sought 
By prayer the offended Deity to appease, 
Kneeled and before him humbled all my heart, 150 

Methought I saw him placable and mild, 
Bending his ear; persuasion in me grew 
That I was heard with favour ; peace returned 
Home to my breast, and to my memory 


His promise that thy seed shall bruise our Foe; 

Which, then not minded in dismay, yet now 

Assures me that the bitterness of death 

Is past, and we shall live. Whence hail to thee! 

Eve rightly called, Mother of all Mankind, 

Mother of all things living, since by thee 160 

Man is to live, and all things live for Man." 

To whom thus Eve with sad demeanour meek: 
" Ill-worthy I such title should belong 
To me transgressor, who, for thee ordained 
A help, became thy snare; to me reproach 
Rather belongs, distrust and all dispraise. 
But infinite in pardon was my Judge, 
That I, who first brought death on all, am graced 
The source of life; next favourable thou, 
Who highly thus to entitle me vouchsaf'st, 170 

Far other name deserving. But the field 
To labour calls us, now with sweat imposed, 
Though after sleepless night ; for see ! the Morn, 
All unconcerned with our unrest, begins 
Her rosy progress smiling. Let us forth, 
I never from thy side henceforth to stray, 
Where'er our day's work lies, though now enjoined 
Laborious, till day droop; while here we dwell, 
What can be toilsome in these pleasant walks? 
Here let us live, though in fallen state, content." 180 

So spake, so wished, much-humbled Eve; but Fate 
Subscribed not. Nature first gave signs, impressed 
On bird, beast, air air suddenly eclipsed, 
After short blush of morn. Nigh in her sight 
The bird of Jove, stooped from his aery tour, 
Two birds of gayest plume before him drove; 
Down from a hill the beast that reigns in woods, 

BOOK XI. 319 

First hunter then, pursued a gentle brace, 

Goodliest of all the forest, hart and hind ; 

Direct to the eastern gate was bent their flight. 190 

Adam observed, and, with his eye the chase 

Pursuing, not unmoved to Eve thus spake : 

"O Eve, some further change awaits us nigh, 
Which Heaven by these mute signs in Nature shows, 
Forerunners of his purpose, or to warn 
Us, haply too secure of our discharge 
From penalty because from death released 
Some days; how long, and what till then our life, 
Who knows? or more than this, that we are dust, 
And thither must return, and be no more? 200 

Why else this double object in our sight, 
Of flight pursued in the air and o'er the ground 
One way the self-same hour? Why in the east 
Darkness ere day's mid-course, and morning-light 
More orient in yon western cloud, that draws 
O'er the blue firmament a radiant white, 
And slow descends, with something Heavenly fraught?" 

He erred not; for, by this, the Heavenly bands 
Down from a sky of jasper lighted now 
In Paradise, and on a hill made halt; 210 

A glorious apparition, had not doubt 
And carnal fear that day dimmed Adam's eye. 
Not that more glorious, when the Angels met 
Jacob in Mahanaim, where he saw 
The field pavilioned with his guardians bright; 
Nor that which on the flaming mount appeared 
In Dothan, covered with a camp of fire, 
Against the Syrian king, who to surprise 
One man, assassin-like, had levied war, 
War unproclaimed. The princely Hierarch ' 220 


In their bright stand there left his Powers to seize 

Possession of the garden; he alone, 

To find where Adam sheltered, took his way, 

Not unperceived of Adam ; who to Eve, 

While the great visitant approached, thus spake: 

"Eve, now expect great tidings, which perhaps 
Of us will soon determine, or impose 
New laws to be observed; for I descry, 
From yonder blazing cloud that veils the hill, 
One of the Heavenly host, and, by his gait, 230 

None of the meanest some great Potentate 
Or of the Thrones above, such majesty 
Invests him coming; yet not terrible, 
That I should fear, nor sociably mild, 
As Raphael, that I should much confide; 
But solemn and sublime; whom, not to offend, 
With reverence I must meet, and thou retire." 

He ended; and the Archangel soon drew nigh, 
Not in his shape celestial, but as man 
Clad to meet man. Over his lucid arms 240 

A military vest of purple flowed, 
Livelier than Meliboean, or the grain 
Of Sarra, worn by kings and heroes old 
In time of truce; Iris had dipt the woof. 
His starry helm unbuckled showed him prime 
In manhood where youth ended; by his side, 
As in a glistering zodiac, hung the sword, 
Satan's dire dread, and in his hand the spear. 
Adam bowed low; he, kingly, from his state 
Inclined not, but his coming thus declared : 250 

" Adam, Heaven's high behest no preface needs : 
Sufficient that thy prayers are heard, and Death, 
Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress, 

BOOK XI. 321 

Defeated of his seizure many days, 

Given thee of grace, wherein thou may'st repent, 

And one bad act with many deeds well done 

May'st cover. Well may then thy Lord, appeased, 

Redeem thee quite from Death's rapacious claim; 

But longer in this Paradise to dwell 

Permits not: to remove thee I am come, 260 

And send thee from the garden forth, to till 

The ground whence thou wast taken, fitter soil." 

He added not; for Adam at the news 
Heart-strook with chilling gripe of sorrow stood, 
That all his senses bound; Eve, who unseen 
Yet all had heard, with audible lament 
Discovered soon the place of her retire : 

" O unexpected stroke, worse than of Death ! 
Must I thus leave thee, Paradise? thus leave 
Thee, native soil? these happy walks and shades, 270 
Fit haunt of Gods ? where I had hope to spend, 
Quiet, though sad, the respite of that day 
That must be mortal to us both. O flowers, 
That never will in other climate grow, 
My early visitation, and my last 
At even, which I bred up with tender hand 
From the first opening bud, and gave ye names, 
Who now shall rear ye to the sun, or rank 
Your tribes, and water from the ambrosial fount? 
Thee, lastly, nuptial bower, by me adorned 280 

With what to sight or smell was sweet, from thee 
How shall I part, and whither wander down 
Into a lower world, to this obscure 
And wild? How shall we breathe in other air 
Less pure, accustomed to immortal fruits?" 

Whom thus the Angel interrupted mild: 

P. L. 21 


k< Lament not, Eve, but patiently resign 

What justly thou hast lost; nor set thy heart, 

Thus over-fond, on that which is not thine. 

Thy going is not lonely ; with thee goes 290 

Thy husband; him to follow thou art bound; 

Where he abides, think there thy native soil." 

Adam, by this from the cold sudden damp 
Recovering, and his scattered spirits returned, 
To Michael thus his humble words addressed : 

" Celestial, whether among the Thrones, or named 
Of them the highest for such of shape may seem 
Prince above princes gently hast thou told 
Thy message, which might else in telling wound, 
And in performing end us. What besides 300 

Of sorrow, and dejection, and despair, 
Our frailty can sustain, thy tidings bring; 
Departure from this happy place, our sweet 
Recess, and only consolation left 
Familiar to our eyes ; all places else 
Inhospitable appear, and desolate, 
Nor knowing us, nor known. And, if by prayer 
Incessant I could hope to change the will 
Of him who all things can, I would not cease 
To weary him with my assiduous cries; 310 

But prayer against his absolute decree 
No more avails than breath against the wind, 
Blown stifling back on him that breathes it forth: 
Therefore to his great bidding I submit. 
This most afflicts me, that, departing hence, 
As from his face I shall be hid, deprived 
His blessed countenance. Here I could frequent, 
With worship, place by place where he vouchsafed 
Presence Divine, and to my sons relate, 

BOOK XI. 323 

' On this mount he appeared ; under this tree 320 

Stood visible ; among these pines his voice 

I heard; here with him at this fountain talked.' 

So many grateful altars I would rear 

Of grassy turf, and pile up every stone 

Of lustre from the brook, in memory 

Or monument to ages, and thereon 

Offer sweet-smelling gums, and fruits, and flowers. 

In yonder nether world where shall I seek 

His bright appearances, or footstep trace? 

For, though I fled him angry, yet, recalled 330 

To life prolonged and promised race, I now 

Gladly behold though but his utmost skirts 

Of glory, and far off his steps adore." 

To whom thus Michael, with regard benign : 
"Adam, thou know'st Heaven his, and all the Earth, 
Not this rock only ; his omnipresence fills 
Land, sea, and air, and every kind that lives, 
Fomented by his virtual power and warmed. 
All the Earth he gave thee to possess and rule, 
No despicable gift; surmise not, then, 340 

His presence to these narrow bounds confined 
Of Paradise or Eden. This had been 
Perhaps thy capital seat, from whence had spread 
All generations, and had hither come 
From all the ends of the Earth, to celebrate 
And reverence thee their great progenitor. 
But this pre-eminence thou hast lost, brought down 
To dwell on even ground now with thy sons. 
Yet doubt not but in valley and in plain 
God is, as here, and will be found alike 350 

Present, and of his presence many a sign, 
Still following thee, still compassing thee round 

21 2 


With goodness and paternal love, his face 

Express, and of his steps the track divine. 

Which that thou may'st believe, and be confirmed, 

Ere thou from hence depart, know I am sent 

To show thee what shall come in future days 

To thee and to thy offspring. Good with bad 

Expect to hear, supernal grace contending 

With sinfulness of men; thereby to learn 360 

True patience, and to temper joy with fear 

And pious sorrow, equally inured 

By moderation either state to bear, 

Prosperous or adverse : so shalt thou lead 

Safest thy life, and best prepared endure 

Thy mortal passage when it comes. Ascend 

This hill; let Eve (for I have drenched her eyes) 

Here sleep below while thou to foresight wak'st, 

As once thou slept'st, while she to life was formed." 

/ To whom thus Adam gratefully replied: 370 

"Ascend; I follow thee, safe guide, the path 
Thou lead'st me, and to the hand of Heaven submit, 
However chastening; to the evil turn 
My obvious breast, arming to overcome 
By suffering, and earn rest from labour won, 
If so I may attain." So both ascend 

s In the visions of God. It was a hill, 

Of Paradise the highest, from whose top 

! The hemisphere of Earth, in clearest ken, 
Stretched out to the amplest reach of prospect lay. 380 

' Not higher that hill, nor wider looking round, 

i Whereon for different cause the Tempter set 
Our second Adam, in the wilderness, 

: To show him all Earth's kingdoms and their glory. 

j His eye might there command wherever stood 

BOOK XL 325 

City of old or modern fame, the seat 

Of mightiest empire, from the destined walls 

Of Cambalu, seat of Cathaian Can, 

And Samarchand by Oxus, Temir's throne, 

To Paquin of Sinaean kings, and thence 390 

To Agra and Lahor of Great Mogul, 

Down to the golden Chersonese, or where 

The Persian in Ecbatan sat, or since 

In Hispahan, or where the Russian Ksar 

In Mosco, or the Sultan in Bizance, 

Turchestan-born ; nor could his eye not ken 

The empire of Negus to his utmost port 

Ercoco, and the less maritime kings, 

Mombaza, and Quiloa, and Melind, 

And Sofala, thought Ophir, to the realm 400 

Of Congo, and Angola farthest south ; 

Or thence from Niger flood to Atlas mount, 

The kingdoms of Almansor, Fez and Sus, 

Marocco, and Algiers, and Tremisen ; 

On Europe thence, and where Rome was to sway 

The world. In spirit perhaps he also saw 

Rich Mexico, the seat of Montezume, 

And Cusco in Peru, the richer seat 

Of Atabalipa, and yet unspoiled 

Guiana, whose great city Geryon's sons 410 

Call El Dorado. But to nobler sights 

Michael from Adam's eyes the film removed 

Which that false fruit that promised clearer sight 

Had bred; then purged with euphrasy and rue 

The visual nerve, for he had much to see, 

And from the well of life three drops instilled. 

So deep the power of these ingredients pierced, 

Even to the inmost seat of mental sight, 


That Adam, now enforced to close his eyes, 

Sunk down, and all his spirits became entranced ; 420 

But him the gentle Angel by the hand 

Soon raised, and his attention thus recalled : 

"Adam, now ope thine eyes, and first behold 
The effects which thy original crime hath wrought 
In some to spring from thee, who never touched 
The excepted tree, nor with the Snake conspired, 
Nor sinned thy sin, yet from that sin derive 
Corruption to bring forth more violent deeds." 

His eyes he opened, and beheld a field, 
Part arable and tilth, whereon were sheaves 450 

New-reaped, the other part sheep-walks and folds; 
I' the midst an altar as the landmark stood, 
Rustic, of grassy sord. Thither anon 
A sweaty reaper from his tillage brought 
First-fruits, the green ear and the yellow sheaf, 
Unculled, as came to hand; a shepherd next, 
More meek, came with the firstlings of his flock, 
Choicest and best; then, sacrificing, laid 
The inwards and their fat, with incense strewed, 
On the cleft wood, and all due rites performed. 440 

His offering soon propitious fire from heaven 
Consumed with nimble glance and grateful steam; 
The other's not, for his was not sincere : 
Whereat he inly raged, and, as they talked, 
Smote him into the midriff with a stone 
That beat out life; he fell, and, deadly pale, 
Groaned out his soul with gushing blood effused. 
Much at that sight was Adam in his heart 
Dismayed, and thus in haste to the Angel cried : 

"O Teacher, some great mischief hath befallen 450 
To that meek man, who well had sacrificed : 

BOOK XI. 327 

Is piety thus and pure devotion paid?" 

To whom Michael thus, he also moved, replied : 
"These two are brethren, Adam, and to come 
Out of thy loins. The unjust the just hath slain, 
For envy that his brother's offering found 
From Heaven acceptance; but the bloody fact 
Will be avenged, and the other's faith approved 
Lose no reward, though here thou see him die, 
Rolling in dust and gore." To which our Sire: 460 

" Alas, both for the deed and for the cause ! 
But have I now seen Death? Is this the way 
I must return to native dust? O sight 
Of terror, foul and ugly to behold ! 
Horrid to think, how horrible to feel ! " 

To whom thus Michael : " Death thou hast seen 
In his first shape on Man; but many shapes 
Of Death, and many are the ways that lead 
To his grim cave, all dismal; yet to sense 
More terrible at the entrance than within. 470 

Some, as thou saw'st, by violent stroke shall die, 
By fire, flood, famine ; by intemperance more 
In meats and drinks, which on the Earth shall bring 
Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew 
Before thee shall appear, that thou may'st know 
What misery the inabstinence of Eve 
Shall bring on men." Immediately a place 
Before his eyes appeared, sad, noisome, dark ; 
A lazar-house it seemed, wherein were laid 
Numbers of all diseased, all maladies 480 

Of ghastly spasm, or racking torture, qualms 
Of heart-sick agony, all feverous kinds, 
Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs, 
Intestine stone and ulcer, colic pangs, 


Demoniac phrenzy, moping melancholy, 

And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy, 

Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence, 

Dropsies and asthmas, and joint-racking rheums. 

Dire was the tossing, deep the groans; Despair 

Tended the sick, busiest from couch to couch; 490 

And over them triumphant Death his dart 

Shook, but delayed to strike, though oft invoked 

With vows, as their chief good and final hope. 

Sight so deform what heart of rock could long 

Dry-eyed behold? Adam could not, but wept, 

Though not of woman born : compassion quelled 

His best of man, and gave him up to tears 

A space, till firmer thoughts restrained excess, 

And, scarce recovering words, his plaint renewed : 

"O miserable Mankind, to what fall 500 

Degraded, to what wretched state reserved ! 
Better end here unborn. Why is life given 
To be thus wrested from us? rather why 
Obtruded on us thus? who, if we knew 
What we receive, would either not accept 
Life offered, or soon beg to lay it down, 
Glad to be so dismissed in peace. Can thus 
The image of God in Man, created once 
So goodly and erect, though faulty since, 
To such unsightly sufferings be debased 510 

Under inhuman pains? Why should not Man, 
Retaining still divine similitude 
In part, from such deformities be free, 
And for his Maker's image sake exempt?" 

"Their Maker's image," answered Michael, "then 
Forsook them, when themselves they vilified 
To serve ungoverned Appetite, and took 

BOOK XI. 329 

His image whom they served a brutish vice, 
Inductive mainly to the sin of Eve. 

Therefore so abject is their punishment, 520 

Disfiguring not God's likeness, but their own; 
Or, if his likeness, by themselves defaced 
While they pervert pure Nature's healthful rules 
To loathsome sickness; worthily, since they 
God's image did not reverence in themselves." 
"I yield it just," said Adam, "and submit. 
But is there yet no other way, besides 
These painful passages, how we may come 
To death, and mix with our connatural dust?" 

"There is," said Michael, "if thou well observe 530 
The rule of^Not too muchly temperance taught 
In what thou eat ; st and dnnJt'st, seeking from thence 
Due nourishment, not gluttpnou^TcTelight, 
Till many years over thy head return. 

o may'st thou live, till, like ripe fruit, thou drop 

nto thy mother's lap, or be with ease 

athered, not harshly plucked, for death mature. 

his is old age; but then thou must outlive 

youth, thy strength, thy beauty, which will change 

'o withered, weak, and grey; thy senses then, 540 

btuse, all taste of pleasure must forgo 
what thou hast; and, for the air of youth, 

hopeful and cheerful, in thy blood will reign 
melancholy damp of cold and dry, 

"o weigh thy spirits down, and last consume 

'he balm of life." To whom our Ancestor : 

"Henceforth I fly not death, nor would prolong 
Life much, bent rather how I may be quit, 
Fairest and easiest, of this cumbrous charge, 
Which I must keep till my appointed day 550 


Of rendering up, and patiently attend 
My dissolution." Michael replied : 

"Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou livest 
Live well; how long or short, permit to Heaven. 
And now prepare thee for another sight." 

He looked, and saw a spacious plain, whereon 
Were tents of various hue ; by some were herds 
Of cattle grazing ; others, whence the sound 
Of instruments that made melodious chime 
Was heard, of harp and organ, and who moved 560 

Their stops and chords was seen ; his volant touch 
Instinct through all proportions, low and high, 
Fled and pursued transverse the resonant fugue. 
In other part stood one who, at the forge 
Labouring, two massy clods of iron and brass 
Had melted (whether found where casual fire 
Had wasted woods, on mountain or in vale, 
Down to the veins of Earth, thence gliding hot 
To some cave's mouth, or whether washed by stream 
From underground) ; the liquid ore he drained 570 

Into fit moulds prepared; from which he formed 
First his own tools; then, what might else be wrought 
Fusil or graven in metal. After these, 
But on the hither side, a different sort 
From the high neighbouring hills, which was their seat, 
Down to the plain descended : by their guise 
Just men they seemed, and all their study bent 
To worship God aright, and know his works 
Not hid; nor those things last which might preserve 
Freedom and peace to men. They on the plain 580 
Long had not walked, when from the tents behold 
A bevy of fair women, richly gay 
In gems and wanton dress ! to the harp they sung 

BOOK XI. 331 

Soft amorous ditties, and in dance came on. 

The men, though grave, eyed them, and let their eyes 

Rove without rein, till, in the amorous net 

Fast caught, they liked, and each his liking chose. 

And now of love they treat, till the evening-star, 

Love's harbinger, appeared ; then, all in heat, 

They light the nuptial torch, and bid invoke 590 

Hymen, then first to marriage rites invoked : 

With feast and music all the tents resound. 

Such happy interview, and fair event 

Of love and youth not lost, songs, garlands, flowers, 

And charming symphonies, attached the heart 

Of Adam, soon inclined to admit delight, 

The bent of Nature ; which he thus expressed : 

"True opener of mine eyes, prime Angel blest, 
Much better seems this vision, and more hope 
Of peaceful days portends, than those two past : 600 

Those were of hate and death, or pain much worse; 
Here Nature seems fulfilled in all her ends." 

To whom thus Michael : " Judge not what is best 
By pleasure, though to. Nature seeming meet, 
Created, as thou art, to nobler end, 
Holy and pure, conformity divine. 
Those tents thou saw'st so pleasant were the tents 
Of wickedness, wherein shall dwell his race 
Who slew his brother: studious they appear 
Of arts that polish life, inventors rare; 610 

Unmindful of their Maker, though his Spirit 
Taught them; but they his gifts acknowledged none. 
Yet they a beauteous offspring shall beget; 
For that fair female troop thou saw'st, that seemed 
Of goddesses, so blithe, so smooth, so gay, 
Yet empty of all good wherein consists 


Woman's domestic honour and chief praise; 

Bred only and completed to the taste 

Of lustful appetence, to sing, to dance, 

To dress, and troll the tongue, and roll the eye ; 620 

To these that sober race of men, whose lives 

Religious titled them the Sons of God, 

Shall yield up all their virtue, all their fame, 

Ignobly, to the trains and to the smiles 

Of these fair atheists, and now swim in joy 

(Erelong to swim at large) and laugh ; for which 

The world erelong a world of tears must weep." 

To whom thus Adam, of short joy bereft : 
"O pity and shame, that they who to live well 
Entered so fair should turn aside to tread 630 

Paths indirect, or in the midway faint ! 
But still I see the tenor of Man's woe 
Holds on the same, from Woman to begin." 

"From Man's effeminate slackness it begins," 
Said the Angel, "who should better hold his place 
By wisdom, and superior gifts received. 
But now prepare thee for another scene." 

He looked, and saw wide territory spread 
Before him towns, and rural works between, 
Cities of men with lofty gates and towers, 640 

Concourse in arms, fierce faces threatening war, 
Giants of mighty bone and bold emprise ; 
Part wield their arms, part curb the foaming steed, 
Single or in array of battle ranged, 
Both horse and foot, nor idly mustering stood. 
One way a band select from forage drives 
A herd of beeves, fair oxen and fair kine, 
From a fat meadow-ground, or fleecy flock, 
Ewes and their bleating lambs, over the plain, 

BOOK XL 333 

Their booty; scarce with life the shepherds fly, 650 

But call in aid, which makes a bloody fray : 

With cruel tournament the squadrons join; 

Where cattle pastured late, now scattered lies 

With carcasses and arms the ensanguined field 

Deserted. Others to a city strong 

Lay siege, encamped, by battery, scale, and mine, 

Assaulting; others from the wall defend 

With dart and javelin, stones and sulphurous fire ; 

On each hand slaughter and gigantic deeds. 

In other part the sceptred haralds call 660 

To council in the city-gates : anon 

Grey-headed men and grave, with warriors mixed, 

Assemble, and harangues are heard; but soon 

In factious opposition, till at last 

Of middle age one rising, eminent 

In wise deport, spake much of right and wrong, 

Of justice, of religion, truth, and peace, 

And judgment from above : him old and young 

Exploded, and had seized with violent hands, 

Had not a cloud descending snatched him thence, 670 

Unseen amid the throng. So violence 

Proceeded, and oppression, and sword-law, 

Through all the plain, and refuge none was found. 

Adam was all in tears, and to his guide 

Lamenting turned full sad: "Oh, what are these? 

Death's ministers, not men ! who thus deal death 

Inhumanly to men, and multiply 

Ten thousandfold the sin of him who slew 

His brother; for of whom such massacre 

Make they but of their brethren, men of men? 680 

But who was that just man, whom had not Heaven 

Rescued, had in his righteousness been lost?" 


To whom thus Michael : " These are the product 
Of those ill-mated marriages thou saw'st; 
Where good with bad were matched, who of themselves 
Abhor to join, and, by imprudence mixed, 
Produce prodigious births of body or mind. 
Such were these Giants, men of high renown ; 
For in those days might only shall be admired, 
And valour and heroic virtue called ; 690 

To overcome in battle, and subdue 
Nations, and bring home spoils with infinite 
Man-slaughter, shall be held the highest pitch 
Of human glory, and for glory done 
Of triumph, to be styled great conquerors, 
Patrons of mankind, gods, and sons of gods 
Destroyers rightlier called, and plagues of men. 
Thus fame shall be achieved, renown on Earth, 
And what most merits fame in silence hid. 
But he, the seventh from thee, whom thou beheld'st 700 
The only righteous in a world perverse, 
And therefore hated, therefore so beset 
With foes, for daring single to be just, 
And utter odious truth, that God would come 
To judge them with his Saints him the Most High, 
Rapt in a balmy cloud with winged steeds, 
Did, as thou saw'st, receive, to walk with God 
High in salvation and the climes of bliss, 
Exempt from death : to show thee what reward 
Awaits the good, the rest what punishment; 710 

Which now direct thine eyes and soon behold." 

He looked, and saw the face of things quite changed; 
The brazen throat of war had ceased to roar; 
All now was turned to jollity and game, 
To luxury and riot, feast and dance, 


Marrying or prostituting, as befell, 

Rape or adultery, where passing fair 

Allured them; thence from cups to civil broils. 

At length a reverend sire among them came, 

And of their doings great dislike declared, 720 

And testified against their ways : he oft 

Frequented their assemblies, whereso met, 

Triumphs or festivals, and to them preached 

Conversion and repentance, as to souls 

In prison, under judgments imminent; 

But all in vain. Which when he saw, he ceased 

Contending, and removed his tents far off; 

Then, from the mountain hewing timber tall, 

Began to build a vessel of huge bulk, 

Measured by cubit, length, and breadth, and highth, 730 

Smeared round with pitch, and in the side a door 

Contrived, and of provisions laid in large 

For man and beast : when lo ! a wonder strange ! 

Of every beast, and bird, and insect small, 

Came sevens and pairs, and entered in, as taught 

Their order; last, the sire and his three sons, 

With their four wives; and God made fast the door. 

Meanwhile the south-wind rose, and, with black wings 

Wide hovering, all the clouds together drove 

From under heaven; the hills, to their supply, 740 

Vapour, and exhalation dusk and moist, 

Sent up amain ; and now the thickened sky 

Like a dark ceiling stood : down rushed the rain 

Impetuous, and continued till the Earth 

No more was seen. The floating vessel swum 

Uplifted, and secure with beaked prow 

Rode tilting o'er the waves; all dwellings else 

Flood overwhelmed, and them with all their pomp 



under water rolled; sea covered sea, 
Sea without shore : and in their palaces, 750 

Where luxury late reigned, sea-monsters whelped 
And stabled : of mankind, so numerous late, 
All left in one small bottom swum embarked. 
How didst thou grieve then, Adam, to behold 
The end of all thy offspring, end so sad, 
Depopulation ! Thee another flood, 
Of tears and sorrow a flood, thee also drowned, 
And sunk thee as thy sons; till, gently reared 
By the Angel, on thy feet thou stood'st at last, 
Though comfortless, as when a father mourns 760 

His children, all in view destroyed at once; 
And scarce to the Angel utter'dst thus thy plaint: 

" O visions ill foreseen ! Better had I 
Lived ignorant of future ! so had borne 
My part of evil only, each day's lot 
Enough to bear; those now, that were dispensed 
The burden of many ages, on me light 
At once, by my foreknowledge gaining birth 
Abortive, to torment me, ere their being, 
With thought that they must be. Let no man seek 770 
Henceforth to be foretold what shall befall 
Him or his children; evil he may be sure, 
Which neither his foreknowing can prevent, 
And he the future evil shall no less 
In apprehension than in substance feel 
Grievous to bear. But that care now is past; 
Man is not whom to warn; those few escaped 
Famine and anguish will at last consume, 
Wandering that watery desert. I had hope, 
When violence was ceased and war on Earth, 780 

All would have then gone well, peace would have crowned 

BOOK XL 337 

With length of happy days the race of Man ; 
But I was far deceived, for now I see 
Peace to corrupt no less than war to waste. 
How comes it thus? Unfold, Celestial Guide, 
And whether here the race of Man will end." 

To whom thus Michael : " Those, whom last thou saw'st 
In triumph and luxurious wealth, are they 
First seen in acts of prowess eminent 
And great exploits, but of true virtue void ; 790 

Who, having spilt much blood, and done much waste, 
Subduing nations, and achieved thereby 
Fame in the world, high titles, and rich prey, 
Shall change their course to pleasure, ease, and sloth, 
Surfeit, and lust, till wantonness and pride 
Raise out of friendship hostile deeds in peace. 
The conquered also, and enslaved by war, 
Shall, with their freedom lost, all virtue lose, 
And fear of God, from whom their piety feigned 
In sharp contest of battle found no aid 800 

Against invaders; therefore, cooled in zeal, 
Thenceforth shall practise how to live secure, 
Worldly or dissolute, on what their lords 
Shall leave them to enjoy; for the Earth shall bear 
More than enough, that temperance may be tried. 
So all shall turn degenerate, all depraved, 
Justice and temperance, truth and faith, forgot; 
One man except, the only son of light 
In a dark age, against example good, 
Against allurement, custom, and a world 810 

Offended. Fearless of reproach and scorn, 
Or violence, he of their wicked ways 
Shall them admonish, and before them set 
The paths of righteousness, how much more safe 

p. L. 22 


And full of peace, denouncing wrath to come 

On their impenitence ; and shall return 

Of them derided, but of God observed 

The one just man alive ; by his command 

Shall build a wondrous ark, as thou beheld'st, 

To save himself and household from amidst 820 

A world devote to universal wrack. 

No sooner he, with them of man and beast 

Select for life, shall in the ark be lodged, 

And sheltered round, but all the cataracts 

Of Heaven set open on the Earth shall pour 

Rain day and night; all fountains of the deep, 

Broke up, shall heave the ocean to usurp 

Beyond all bounds, till inundation rise 

Above the highest hills. *Then shall this Mount 

Of Paradise by might of waves be moved 830 

Out of his place, pushed by the horned flood, 

With all his verdure spoiled, and trees adrift, 

Down the great river to the opening Gulf, 

And there take root, an island salt and bare, 

The haunt of seals, and ores, and sea-mews' clang:Ji 

To teach thee that God attributes to place 

No sanctity, if none be thither brought 

By men who there frequent or therein dweil. 

And now what further shall ensue behold." 

He looked, and saw the ark hull on the flood, 840 
Which now abated; for the clouds were fled, 
Driven by a keen north-wind, that, blowing dry, 
Wrinkled the face of deluge, as decayed; 
And the clear sun on his wide watery glass 
Gazed hot, and of the fresh wave largely drew, 
As after thirst; which made their flowing shrink 
From standing lake to tripping ebb, that stole 



With soft foot towards the deep, who now had stopt 

His sluices, as the heaven his windows shut. 

The ark no more now floats, but seems on ground, 850 

Fast on the top of some high mountain fixed. 

And now the tops of hills as rocks appear ; 

With clamour thence the rapid currents drive 

Towards the retreating sea their furious tide. 

Forthwith from out the ark a raven flies, 

And after him, the surer messenger, 

A dove, sent forth once and again to spy 

Green tree or ground whereon his foot may light; 

The second time returning, in his bill 

An olive-leaf he brings, pacific sign. 860 

Anon dry ground appears, and from his ark 

The ancient sire descends, with all his train; 

Then, with uplifted hands and eyes devout, 

Grateful to Heaven, over his head beholds 

A dewy cloud, and in the cloud a bow 

Conspicuous with three listed colours gay, 

Betokening peace from God, and covenant new. 

Whereat the heart of Adam, erst so sad, 

Greatly rejoiced, and thus his joy broke forth : 

"O thou, who future things canst represent 870 

As present, Heavenly Instructor, I revive 
At this last sight, assured that Man shall live, 
With all the creatures, and their seed preserve. 
Far less I now lament for one whole world 
Of wicked sons destroyed, than I rejoice 
For one man found so perfect and so just, 
That God vouchsafes to raise another world 
From him, and all his anger to forget. 
But say, what mean those coloured streaks in Heaven, 
Distended as the brow of God appeased? 880 

22 2 


Or serve they as a flowery verge to bind 
The fluid skirts of that same watery cloud, 
Lest it again dissolve and shower the Earth?" 

To whom the Archangel : " Dextrously thou aim'st. 
So willingly doth God remit his ire, 
Though late repenting him of Man depraved; 
Grieved at his heart, when looking down he saw 
The whole Earth filled with violence, and all flesh 
Corrupting each their way yet, those removed, 
Such grace shall one just man find in his sight, 890 

That he relents, not to blot out mankind, 
And makes a covenant never to destroy 
The Earth again by flood, nor let the sea 
Surpass his bounds, nor rain to drown the world 
With man therein or beast ; but, when he brings 
Over the Earth a cloud, will therein set 
His triple-coloured bow, whereon to look 
And call to mind his covenant. Day and night, 
Seed-time and harvest, heat and hoary frost, 
.Shall hold their course, tall- fire purges 11 .thiaa&^new, 900 
iBoth Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell." 



The Angel Michael continues, from the Flood, to relate what shall 
succeed; then, in the mention of Abraham, conies by degrees to explain 
who that Seed of the Woman shall be which was promised Adam and 
Eve in the Fall; his incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension; 
the state of the Church till his second coming. Adam, greatly satisfied 
and recomforted by these relations and promises, descends the hill with 
Michael; wakens Eve, who all this while had slept, but with gentle 
dreams composed to quietness of mind and submission. Michael in 
either hand leads them out of Paradise, the fiery sword waving behind 
them, and the Cherubim taking their stations to guard the place. 


AS one who in his journey bates at noon, 
Though bent on speed, so here the Archangel paused 
Betwixt the world destroyed and world restored, 
If Adam aught perhaps might interpose ; 
Then, with transition sweet, new speech resumes: 

"Thus thou hast seen one world begin and end, 
And Man as from a second stock proceed. 
Much thou hast yet to see; but I perceive 
Thy mortal sight to fail; objects divine 
Must needs impair and weary human sense: 10 

Henceforth what is to come I will relate; 
Thou, therefore, give due audience, and attend. 

"This second source of men, while yet but few, 
And while the dread of judgment past remains 
Fresh in their minds, fearing the Deity, 
With some regard to what is just and right 
Shall lead their lives, and multiply apace, 
Labouring the soil, and reaping plenteous crop, 
Corn, wine, and oil; and, from the herd or flock 
Oft sacrificing bullock, lamb, or kid, 20 

With large wine-offerings poured, and sacred feast, 
Shall spend their days in joy unblamed, and dwell 
Long time in peace, by families and tribes, 


Under paternal rule; till one shall rise, 

Of proud, ambitious heart, who, not content 

With fair equality, fraternal state, 

Will arrogate dominion undeserved 

Over his brethren, and quite dispossess 

Concord and law of Nature from the Earth; 

Hunting (and men, not beasts, shall be his game) 30 

With war and hostile snare such as refuse 

Subjection to his empire tyrannous. 

A mighty hunter thence he shall be styled 

Before the Lord, as in despite of Heaven, 

Or from Heaven claiming second sovranty; 

And from rebellion shall derive his name, 

Though of rebellion others he accuse. 

He, with a crew, whom like ambition joins 

With him or under him to tyrannize, 

Marching from Eden towards the west, shall find 40 

The plain, wherein a black bituminous gurge 

Boils out from under ground, the mouth of Hell. 

Of brick, and of that stuff, they cast to build 

A city and tower, whose top may reach to Heaven; 

And get themselves a name, lest, far dispersed 

In foreign lands, their memory be lost, 

Regardless whether good or evil fame. 

But God, who oft descends to visit men 

Unseen, and through their habitations walks 

To mark their doings, them beholding soon, 50 

Comes down to see their city, ere the tower 

Obstruct Heaven-towers, and in derision sets 

Upon their tongues a various spirit, to rase 

Quite out their native language, and, instead, 

To sow a jangling noise of words unknown. 

Forthwith a hideous gabble rises loud 

BOOK xii. 345 

Among the builders; each to other calls, 

Not understood, till hoarse, and all in rage, 

As mocked they storm. Great laughter was in Heaven, 

And looking down, to see the hubbub strange 60 

And hear the din ; thus was the building left 

Ridiculous, and the work Confusion named." 

Whereto thus Adam, fatherly displeased : 
"O execrable son, so to aspire 
Above his brethren, to himself assuming 
Authority usurped, from God not given ! 
He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl, 
Dominion absolute; that right we hold 
By his donation : but man over men 
He made not lord; such title to himself 70 

Reserving, human left from human free. 
But this usurper his encroachment proud 
Stays not on Man; to God his tower intends 
Siege and defiance. Wretched man ! what food 
Will he convey up thither, to sustain 
Himself and his rash army, where thin air 
Above the clouds will pine his entrails gross, 
And famish him of breath, if not of bread?" 

To whom thus Michael: "Justly thou abhorr'st 
That son, who on the quiet state of men So 

Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue 
Rational liberty; yet know withal, 
Since thy original lapse, true liberty 
Is lost, which always with right reason dwells 
Twinned, and from her hath no dividual being. 
Reason in Man obscured, or not obeyed, 
Immediately inordinate desires 
And upstart passions catch the government 
From reason, and to servitude reduce 


Man, till then free. Therefore, since he permits 90 

Within himself unworthy powers to reign 

Over free reason, God, in judgment just, 

Subjects him from without to violent lords, 

Who oft as undeservedly enthral 

His outward freedom : tyranny must be, 

Though to the tyrant thereby no excuse. 

Yet sometimes nations will decline so low 

From virtue, which is reason, that no wrong, 

But justice, and some fatal curse annexed, 

Deprives them of their outward liberty, 100 

Their inward lost : witness the irreverent son 

Of him who built the ark, who, for the shame 

Done to his father, heard this heavy curse, 

Servant of servants, on his vicious race. 

Thus will this latter, as the former world, 

Still tend from bad to worse, till God at last, 

Wearied with their iniquities, withdraw 

His presence from among them, and avert 

His holy eyes; resolving from thenceforth 

To leave them to their own polluted ways, no 

And one peculiar nation to select 

From all the rest, of whom to be invoked 

A nation from one faithful man to spring. 

Him on this side Euphrates yet residing, 

Bred up in idol-worship Oh, that men 

(Canst thou believe?) should be so stupid grown, 

While yet the patriarch lived who scaped the Flood, 

As to forsake the living God, and fall 

To worship their own work in wood and stone 

For gods ! yet him God the Most High vouchsafes 120 

To call by vision from his father's house, 

His kindred, and false gods, into a land 

BOOK XII. 347 

Which he will show him, and from him will raise 

A mighty nation, and upon him shower 

His benediction so, that in his seed 

All nations shall be blest. He straight obeys; 

Not knowing to what land, yet firm believes. 

I see him, but thou canst not, with what faith 

He leaves his gods, his friends, and native soil, 

Ur of Chaldaea, passing now the ford 130 

To Haran ; after him a cumbrous train 

Of herds and flocks, and numerous servitude, 

Not wandering poor, but trusting all his wealth 

With God, who called him, in a land unknown. 

Canaan he now attains; I see his tents 

Pitched about Sechem, and the neighbouring plain 

Of Moreh ; there, by promise, he receives 

Gift to his progeny of all that land, 

From Hamath northward to the Desert south 

(Things by their names I call, though yet unnamed), 140 

From Hermon east to the great western sea; 

Mount Hermon, yonder sea, each place behold 

In prospect, as I point them : on the shore, 

Mount Carmel ; here, the double-founted stream, 

Jordan, true limit eastward; but his sons 

Shall dwell to Senir, that long ridge of hills. 

This ponder, that all nations of the Earth 

Shall in his seed be blessed. By that seed 

Is meant thy great Deliverer, who shall bruise 

The Serpent's head; whereof to thee anon 150 

Plainlier shall be revealed. This patriarch blest, 

Whom faithful Abraham due time shall call, 

A son, and of his son a grandchild, leaves, 

Like him in faith, in wisdom, and renown. 

The grandchild, with twelve sons increased, departs 


From Canaan to a land hereafter called 

Egypt, divided by the river Nile; 

See where it flows, disgorging at seven mouths 

Into the sea. To sojourn in that land 

He comes, invited by a younger son 160 

In time of dearth, a son whose worthy deeds 

Raise him to be the second in that realm 

Of Pharaoh. There he dies, and leaves his race 

Growing into a nation, and now grown 

Suspected to a sequent king, who seeks 

To stop their overgrowth, as inmate guests 

Too numerous ; whence of guests he makes them slaves 

Inhospitably, and kills their infant males : 

Till, by two brethren (those two brethren call 

Moses and Aaron) sent from God to claim 170 

His people from enthralment, they return, 

With glory and spoil, back to their promised land. 

But first the lawless tyrant, who denies 

To know their God, or message to regard, 

Must be compelled by signs and judgments dire: 

To blood unshed the rivers must be turned; 

Frogs, lice, and flies must all his palace fill 

With loathed intrusion, and fill all the land; 

His cattle must of rot and murrain die ; 

Botches and blains must all his flesh emboss, 180 

And all his people; thunder mixed with hail, 

Hail mixed with fire, must rend the Egyptian sky, 

And wheel on the earth, devouring where it rolls; 

What it devours not, herb, or fruit, or grain, 

A darksome cloud of locusts swarming down 

Must eat, and on the ground leave nothing green; 

Darkness must overshadow all his bounds, 

Palpable darkness, and blot out three days; 

BOOK xii. 349 

Last, with one midnight-stroke, all the first-born 

Of Egypt must lie dead. Thus with ten wounds 150 

The river-dragon tamed at length submits 

To let his sojourners depart, and oft 

Humbles his stubborn heart, but still as ice 

More hardened after thaw; till, in his rage 

Pursuing whom he late dismissed, the sea 

Swallows him with his host, but them lets pass, 

As on dry land, between two crystal walls, 

Awed by the rod of Moses so to stand 

Divided, till his rescued gain their shore : 

Such wondrous power God to his Saint will lend, 200 

Though present in his Angel, who shall go 

Before them in a cloud, and pillar of fire 

By day a cloud, by night a pillar of fire 

To guide them in their journey, and remove 

Behind them, while the obdurate king pursues. 

All night he will pursue, but his approach 

Darkness defends between till morning-watch ; 

Then through the fiery pillar and the cloud 

God looking forth will trouble all his host, 

And craze their chariot-wheels : when, by command, 210 

Moses once more his potent rod extends 

Over the sea; the sea his rod obeys; 

On their embattled ranks the waves return, 

And overwhelm their war. The race elect 

Safe towards Canaan from the shore advance 

Through the wild Desert, not the readiest way; 

Lest, entering on the Canaanite alarmed, 

War terrify them inexpert, and fear 

Return them back to Egypt, choosing rather 

Inglorious life with servitude; for life 220 

To noble and ignoble is more sweet 


Untrained in arms, where rashness leads not on. 

This also shall they gain by their delay 

In the wide wilderness : there they shall found 

Their government, and their great Senate choose 

Through the twelve tribes, to rule by laws ordained. 

God, from the mount of Sinai, whose grey top 

Shall tremble, he descending, will himself 

In thunder, lightning, and loud trumpet's sound, 

Ordain them laws; part, such as appertain 230 

To civil justice; part, religious rites 

Of sacrifice, informing them, by types 

And shadows, of that destined Seed to bruise 

The Serpent, by what means he shall achieve 

Mankind's deliverance. But the voice of God 

To mortal ear is dreadful; they beseech 

That Moses might report to them his will, 

And terror cease; he grants what they besought, 

Instructed that to God is no access 

Without Mediator, whose high office now 240 

Moses in figure bears, to introduce 

One greater, of whose day he shall foretell, 

And all the Prophets, in their age, the times 

Of great Messiah shall sing. Thus laws and rites 

Established, such delight hath God in men 

Obedient to his will, that he vouchsafes 

Among them to set up his tabernacle 

The Holy One with mortal men to dwell. 

By his prescript a sanctuary is framed 

Of cedar, overlaid with gold; therein 250 

An ark, and in the ark his testimony, 

The records of his covenant; over these 

A mercy-seat of gold, between the wings 

Of two bright Cherubim; before him burn 

BOOK XII. 351 

Seven lamps, as in a zodiac representing 

The heavenly fires. Over the tent a cloud 

Shall rest by day, a fiery gleam by night, 

Save when they journey; and at length they come, 

Conducted by his Angel, to the land 

Promised to Abraham and his seed. The rest 260 

Were long to tell : how many battles fought ; 

How many kings destroyed, and kingdoms won; 

Or how the sun shall in mid-heaven stand still 

A day entire, and night's due course adjourn, 

Man's voice commanding, ' Sun, in Gibeon stand, 

And thou, Moon, in the vale of Aialon, 

Till Israel overcome ! ' so call the third 

From Abraham, son of Isaac, and from him 

His whole descent, who thus shall Canaan win." 

Here Adam interposed : " O sent from Heaven, 270 
Enlightener of my darkness, gracious things 
Thou hast revealed, those chiefly which concern 
Just Abraham and his seed. Now first I find 
Mine eyes true opening, and my heart much eased, 
Erewhile perplexed with thoughts what would become 
Of me and all mankind ; but now I see 
His day, in whom all nations shall be blest, 
Favour unmerited by me, who sought 
Forbidden knowledge by forbidden means. 
This yet I apprehend not, why to those 280 

Among whom God will deign to dwell on Earth 
So many and so various laws are given : 
So many laws argue so many sins 
Among them; how can God with such reside?" 

To whom thus Michael : " Doubt not but that sin 
Will reign among them, as of thee begot ; 
And therefore was law given them, to evince 


Their natural pravity, by stirring up 

Sin against law to fight; that, when they see 

Law can discover sin, but not remove, 290 

Save by those shadowy expiations weak. 

The blood of bulls and goats, they may conclude 

Some blood more precious must be paid for Man, 

Just for unjust, that in such righteousness, 

To them by faith imputed, they may find 

Justification towards God, and peace 

Of conscience, which the law by ceremonies 

Cannot appease, nor man the moral part 

Perform, and not performing cannot live. 

So law appears imperfect, and but given 300 

With purpose to resign them, in full time, 

Up to a better covenant, disciplined 

From shadowy types to truth, from flesh to spirit, 

From imposition of strict laws to free 

Acceptance of large grace, from servile fear 

To filial, works of law to works of faith. 

And therefore shall not Moses, though of God 

Highly beloved, being but the minister 

Of law, his people into Canaan lead; 

But Joshua, whom the Gentiles Jesus call, 310 

His name and office bearing, who shall quell 

The adversary Serpent, and bring back 

Through the world's wilderness long-wandered Man 

Safe to eternal Paradise of rest. 

Meanwhile they, in their earthly Canaan placed, 

Long time shall dwell and prosper, but when sins 

National interrupt their public peace, 

Provoking God to raise them enemies 

From whom as oft he saves them penitent, 

By Judges first, then under Kings ; of whom 320 

BOOK xii. 353 

The second, both for piety renowned 
And puissant deeds, a promise shall receive 
Irrevocable, that his regal throne 
For ever shall endure. The like shall sing 
All Prophecy that of the royal stock 
Of David (so I name this king) shall rise 
A Son, the Woman's Seed to thee foretold, 
Foretold to Abraham, as in whom shall trust 
All nations, and to kings foretold, of kings 
! The last, for of his reign shall be no end. 330 

\ But first a long succession must ensue ; 
And his next son, for wealth and wisdom famed, 
The clouded ark of God, till then in tents 
Wandering, shall in a glorious temple enshrine. 
Such follow him as shall be registered 
Part good, part bad ; of bad the longer scroll ; 
Whose foul idolatries and other faults, 
Heaped to the popular sum, will so incense 
God, as to leave them, and expose their land, 
Their city, his temple, and his holy ark, 340 

With all his sacred things, a scorn and prey 
To that proud city, whose high walls thou saw'st 
Left in confusion, Babylon thence called. 
There in captivity he lets them dwell 
The space of seventy years; then brings them back, 
Remembering mercy, and his covenant sworn 
To David, stablished as the days of Heaven. 
Returned from Babylon by leave of kings, 
Their lords, whom God disposed, the house of God 
They first re-edify, and for a while 350 

In mean estate live moderate, till, grown 
In wealth and multitude, factious they grow. 
But first among the priests dissension springs, 


Men who attend the altar, and should most 

Endeavour peace; their strife pollution brings 

Upon the temple itself; at last they seize 

The sceptre, and regard not David's sons; 

Then lose it to a stranger, that the true 

Anointed King Messiah might be born 

Barred of his right. Yet at his birth a star, 360 

Unseen before in Heaven, proclaims him come, 

And guides the eastern sages, who inquire 

His place, to offer incense, myrrh, and gold : 

His place of birth a solemn Angel tells 

To simple shepherds, keeping watch by night; 

They gladly thither haste, and by a quire 

Of squadroned Angels hear his carol sung. 

A Virgin is his mother, but his Sire 

The Power of the Most High. He shall ascend 

The throne hereditary, and bound his reign 370 

With Earth's wide bounds, his glory with the Heavens." 

He ceased, discerning Adam with such joy 
Surcharged as had, like grief, been dewed in tears, 
Without the vent of words ; which these he breathed : 

"O prophet of glad tidings, finisher 
Of utmost hope ! now clear I understand 
What oft my steadiest thoughts have searched in vain; 
Why our great Expectation should be called 
The Seed of Woman. Virgin Mother, hail ! 
High in the love of Heaven, yet from my loins 380 

Thou shalt proceed, and from thy womb the Son 
Of God Most High; so God with Man unites. 
Needs must the Serpent now his capital bruise 
Expect with mortal pain : say where and when 
Their fight, what stroke shall bruise the Victor's heel." 

To whom thus Michael : " Dream not of their fight 

BOOK xii. 355 

As of a duel, or the local wounds 

Of head or heel. Not therefore joins the Son 

Manhood to Godhead, with more strength to foil 

Thy enemy; nor so is overcome 390 

Satan, whose fall from Heaven, a deadlier bruise, 

Disabled not to give thee thy death's wound; 

Which he who comes thy Saviour shall recure, 

Not by destroying Satan, but his works 

In thee and in thy seed. Nor can this be, 

But by fulfilling that which thou didst want, 

Obedience to the law of God, imposed 

On penalty of death, and suffering death, 

The penalty to thy transgression due, 

And due to theirs which out of thine will grow : 400 

So only can high justice rest appaid. 

The law of God exact he shall fulfil 

Both by obedience and by love, though love 

Alone fulfil the law; thy punishment 

He shall endure, by coming in the flesh 

To a reproachful life and cursed death, 

Proclaiming life to all who shall believe 

In his redemption, and that his obedience 

Imputed becomes theirs by faith his merits 

To save them, not their own, though legal, works. 410 

For this he shall live hated, be blasphemed, 

Seized on by force, judged, and to death condemned, 

A shameful and accursed, nailed to the cross 

By his own nation, slain for bringing life; 

But to the cross he nails thy enemies, 

The law that is against thee, and the sins 

Of all mankind, with him there crucified, 

Never to hurt them more who rightly trust 

In this his satisfaction. So he dies, 



But soon revives; Death over him no power 420 

Shall long usurp; ere the third dawning light 

Return, the stars of morn shall see him rise 

Out of his grave, fresh as the dawning light, 

Thy ransom paid, which Man from Death redeems, 

His death for Man as many as offered life 

Neglect not, and the benefit embrace 

By faith not void of works. This godlike act 

Annuls thy doom, the death thou shouldst have died, 

In sin for ever lost from life; this act 

Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his strength, 430 

Defeating Sin and Death, his two main arms, 

And fix far deeper in his head their stings 

Than temporal death shall bruise the Victor's heel, 

Or theirs whom he redeems a death like sleep, 

A gentle wafting to immortal life. 

Nor after resurrection shall he stay 

Longer on Earth than certain times to appear 

To his disciples, men who in his life 

Still followed him ; to them shall leave in charge 

To teach all nations what of him they learned 440 

And his salvation, them who shall believe 

Baptizing in the profluent stream the sign 

Of washing them from guilt of sin to life 

Pure, and in mind prepared, if so befall, 

For death like that which the Redeemer died. 

All nations they shall teach; for from that day 

Not only to the sons of Abraham's loins 

Salvation shall be preached, but to the sons 

Of Abraham's faith wherever through the world ; 

So in his seed all nations shall be blest. 450 

Then to the Heaven of Heavens he shall ascend 

With victory, triumphing through the air 

BOOK xii. 357 

Over his foes and thine; there shall surprise 

The Serpent, Prince of air, and drag in chains 

Through all his realm, and there confounded leave; 

Then enter into glory, and resume 

His seat at God's right hand, exalted high 

Above all names in Heaven; and thence shall come, 

When this world's dissolution shall be ripe, 

With glory and power, to judge both quick and dead 460 

To judge the unfaithful dead, but to reward 

His faithful, and receive them into bliss, 

Whether in Heaven or Earth; for then the Earth 

Shall all be Paradise, far happier place 

Than this of Eden, and far happier days." 

So spake the Archangel Michael ; then paused, 
As at the world's great period ; and our Sire, 
Replete with joy and wonder, thus replied : 

" O Goodness infinite, Goodness immense ! 
That all this good of evil shall produce, 470 

And evil turn to good; more wonderful 
Than that which by creation first brought forth 
Light out of darkness ! . Full of doubt I stand, 
Whether I should repent me now of sin 
By me done and occasioned, or rejoice 
Much more, that much more good thereof shall spring; 
To God more glory, more good-will to men 
From God, and over wrath grace shall abound. 
But say, if our Deliverer up to Heaven 
Must reascend, what will betide the few, 480 

His faithful, left among the unfaithful herd, 
The enemies of truth. Who then shall guide 
His people, who defend? Will they not deal 
Worse with his followers than with him they dealt?" 

" Be sure they will," said the Angel ; " but from Heaven 


He to his own a Comforter will send, 

The promise of the Father, who shall dwell, 

His Spirit, within them, and the law of faith, 

Working through love, upon their hearts shall write, 

To guide them in all truth, and also arm 490 

With spiritual armour, able to resist 

Satan's assaults, and quench his fiery darts; 

What man can do against them not afraid, 

Though to the death; against such cruelties 

With inward consolations recompensed, 

And oft supported so as shall amaze 

Their proudest persecutors. For the Spirit, 

Poured first on his Apostles, whom he sends 

To evangelize the nations, then on all 

Baptized, shall them with wondrous gifts endue 500 

To speak all tongues, and do all miracles, 

As did their Lord before them. Thus they win 

Great numbers of each nation to receive 

With joy the tidings brought from Heaven : at length 

Their ministry performed, and race well run, 

Their doctrine and their story written left, 

They die; but in their room, as they forewarn, 

Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous wolves, 

Who all the sacred mysteries of Heaven 

To their own vile advantages shall turn 510 

Of lucre and ambition, and the truth 

With superstitions and traditions taint, 

Left only in those written records pure, 

Though not but by the Spirit understood. 

Then shall they seek to avail themselves of names, 

Places, and titles, and with these to join 

Secular power, though feigning still to act 

By spiritual; to themselves appropriating 

BOOK xii. 359 

The Spirit of God, promised alike and given 

To all believers; and, from that pretence, 520 

Spiritual laws by carnal power shall force 

On every conscience, laws which none shall find 

Left them enrolled, or what the Spirit within 

Shall on the heart engrave. What will they then, 

But force the Spirit of Grace itself, and bind 

His consort, Liberty? what but unbuild 

His living temples, built by faith to stand, 

Their own faith, not another's? for, on Earth, 

Who against faith and conscience can be heard 

Infallible ? Yet many will presume : 530 

Whence heavy persecution shall arise 

On all who in the worship persevere 

Of Spirit and Truth; the rest, far greater part, 

Will deem in outward rites and specious forms 

Religion satisfied; Truth shall retire 

Bestuck with slanderous darts, and works of faith 

Rarely be found. So shall the world go on, 

To good malignant, to bad men benign, 

Under her own weight groaning till the day 

Appear of respiration to the just, 540 

And vengeance to the wicked, at return 

Of Him so lately promised to thy aid, 

The Woman's Seed obscurely then foretold, 

Now amplier known thy Saviour and thy Lord ; 

Last in the clouds from Heaven to be revealed 

In glory of the Father, to dissolve 

Satan with his perverted world ; then raise 

From the conflagrant mass, purged and refined, 

New Heavens, new Earth, ages of endless date, 

Founded in righteousness and peace and love, 550 

To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss." 


He ended ; and thus Adam last replied : 
"How soon hath thy prediction, Seer blest, 
Measured this transient world, the race of time, 
Till time stand fixed ! Beyond is all abyss, 
Eternity, whose end no eye can reach. 
Greatly instructed I shall hence depart, 
Greatly in peace of thought, and have my fill 
Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain ; 
Beyond which was my folly to aspire. 560 

Henceforth I learn that to obey is best, 
And love with fear the only God, to walk 
As in his presence, ever to observe 
His providence, and on him sole depend, 
Merciful over all his works, with good 
Still overcoming evil, and by small 
Accomplishing great things, by things deemed weak 
Subverting worldly-strong, and worldly-wise 
By simply meek; that suffering for truth's sake 
Is fortitude to highest victory, r; 

And, to the faithful, death the gate of life; 
Taught this by his example whom I now 
Acknowledge my Redeemer ever blest" 

To whom thus also the Angel last replied: 
"This having learned, thou hast attained the sum 
Of wisdom ; hope no higher, though all the stars 
Thou knew'st by name, and all the ethereal powers, 
All secrets of the deep, all Nature's works, 
Or works of God in Heaven, air, Earth, or sea, 
And all the riches of this world enjoy'dst, 580 

And all the rule, one empire. Only add 
Deeds to thy knowledge answerable; add faith, 
Add virtue, patience, temperance; add love, 
By name to come called charity, the soul 

BOOK XII. 361 

all the rest : then wilt them not be loth 
To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess 
A Paradise within thee, happier far. 

^Eet us descend now, therefore, from this top 
Of speculation ; for the hour precise 
Exacts our parting hence ; and, see ! the guards, 590 

By me encamped on yonder hill, expect 
Their motion, at whose front a flaming sword, 
In signal of remove, waves fiercely round. 
We may no longer stay: go, waken Eve; 
Her also I with gentle dreams have calmed, 
Portending good, and all her spirits composed 
To meek submission : thou, at season fit, 
Let her with thee partake what thou hast heard; 
Chiefly what may concern her faith to know, 
The great deliverance by her seed to come 600 

(For by the Woman's Seed) on all mankind; 
That ye may live, which will be many days, 
Both in one faith unanimous ; though sad 
With cause for evils past, yet much more cheered 
With meditation on the happy end." 

He ended, and they both descend the hill. 
Descended, Adam to the bower where Eve 
Lay sleeping ran before, but found her waked; 
And thus with words not sad she him received : 

"Whence thou return'st, and whither went'st, I know; 610 
For God is also in sleep, and dreams advise, 
Which he hath sent propitious, some great good 
Presaging, since with sorrow and heart's distress 
Wearied I fell asleep. But now lead on; 
In me is no delay; with thee to go 

JIs to stay here; without thee here to stay 

v ] Is to go hence unwilling ; thou to me 


Art all things under Heaven, all places thou, 

Who for my wilful crime art banished hence. 

This further consolation yet secure 620 

I carry hence : though all by me is lost, 

Such favour I unworthy am vouchsafed, 

By me the Promised Seed shall all restore." 

So spake our mother Eve, and Adam heard 
Well pleased, but answered not; for now too nigh 
The Archangel stood, and from the other hill 
To their fixed station, all in bright array, 
The Cherubim descended; on the ground 
Gliding meteorous, as evening mist 

Risen from a river o'er the marish glides, 630 

And gathers ground fast at the labourer's heel 
Homeward returning. High in front advanced, 
The brandished sword of God before them blazed, 
Fierce as a comet; which with torrid heat, 
And vapour as the Libyan air adust, 
Began to parch that temperate clime; whereat 
In either hand the hastening angel caught 
Our lingering parents, and to the eastern gate 
Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast 
To the subjected plain; then disappeared. 640 

They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld 
Of Paradise, so late their happy seat, 
Waved over by that flaming brand; the gate 
With dreadful faces thronged and fiery arms. 
Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon; 
The world was all before them, where to choose 
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide. 
They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow, 
[Through Eden took their solitary way. 




First printed in 1674. I number the lines of each poem for con- 
venience of reference. 

I. The Latin elegiacs : the author of these was Samuel Barrow, a 
Cambridge man of note. Born in 1625 he graduated from Trinity in 
1643, and afterwards attained to some celebrity in medicine. He was 
appointed Physician in Ordinary to Charles II. in August, 1660, and 
died in 1682. His Royalist sympathies evidently did not prevent him 
from being an admirer of Milton. Curiously enough, his poetic sum- 
mary of the contents of the Epic includes no direct reference to the 
Temptation and Fall of Man. He is most struck with the war in 
Heaven and Satan's expulsion. 

i. Amissam\ the masculine were more correct; cf. the title of 
Hogg's once well-known translation Paraphrasis Poetica in tria 
Johannis Miltoni Poemata, viz. Paradisum Amissum, Paradisuni 
Recuperatum, et Samsonem Agonisten (1690). 

9. pontum'y no doubt, the right reading. It may, however, be 
noted that both the second and third editions of Paradise Lost have 
portum (which Keightley retained, with what sense is not clear). 

15. futurum ; so the second and third editions, but many later 
texts print futtira. As the line stands it seems to mean (if we may 
reproduce the baldness of the original), * who could believe that there 
would be any one who would conceive hopes of these things ? ' i.e. be 
so ambitious. But probably the author intended futura (or wrote hoc), 

I ^ 38. These lines, nearly half the poem, allude to bk. vi. of 
P. Z.; see VI. 245327, 63470, 749 879- 

30. currus animes, the Cherubic chariot (vi. 750 56). 

39 42. Lauder placed these verses ironically on the title-page 
of his Essay (1750). 

42. Alluding to the Homeric "Battle of the Frogs and Mice," 
and the Vergilian "Culex." Cf. Dryden's lines on Milton. 

II. The English verses: the writer was Andrew Marvell (1620 
78), poet and politician. In 1657 he had been made assistant secretary 
to Milton while the latter still held office under the Council. At the 
Restoration he did Milton good service "acted vigorously in his 


behalf and made a considerable party for him" (says Phillips, Memoir}. 
Marvell's poetry shows Milton's influence clearly ; see Lycidas, 40, note. 

9. Samson Agonistes had been published (1671). 

12. success, result, issue. 

26. pretend, claim falsely. 

37 40. See P. L. i. 13 15. A correspondent of Notes and Queries 
pointed out that " the bird" (39) meant is the bird of Paradise and that 
Marvell refers to the old notion, believed till the end of the last century, 
that it was footless: cf. "always keeps on wing." So in Lyly's play, 
Love's Metamorphosis, iv. i, the bird of Paradise is described as " that 
bird that liveth only by air, and dieth if she touch the earth " (Bond's 
Lyly, in. 319). Cf. too a complimentary poem (1647) to Fletcher 
(p. xlii. vol. i. in the Cambridge Beaumont and Fletcher] : 
"But thou art still that Bird of Paradise 
Which hath no feet and ever nobly flies." 

42. expense] some texts print expanse. 

43. See P. L. in. 3236. 

47 5- A sarcasm against Dryden, who, as the champion of 
rhymed plays, had under the name of "Bayes" been satirised in 
Buckingham's Rehearsal (1671) an attack which he repaid with 
interest in Absalom and Achitophel. . The allusion comes naturally 
from Marvell, who had himself borrowed the title of The Rehearsal 
for his chief prose work, 7"he Rehearsal Transprosed, a long polemical 
pamphlet in two parts (167273), in which his opponent figures 
throughout as "Mr Bayes." Milton was thought to have helped him 
in writing Part I., but Marvell denies this in Part II. See Aitken's 
Marvell, "Poems," p. 209, and Birrell's Life, chap. v. Dryden (as 
we learn from Aubrey) on one of his visits to Milton asked per- 
mission to "put his Paradise Lost into a drama in rhyme. Mr Milton 
received him cordially, and told him he would give him leave to tag his 
verses" : the outcome being his opera The State of Innocence and Fall 
of Man, published in 1674, the very year in which, apparently, Marvell 
wrote these verses. Milton may have talked the matter over with 
Marvell (so Masson thinks) ; or, perhaps, it had become a piece of 
contemporary gossip among literary men. Either way, the reference 
here is not to be mistaken. 

49. fancies. Keightley faces, points, the tagged laces used to tie 
parts of the dress, especially the breeches ; mentioned often in 

51, 52. the mode, the fashion of rhyming. He means that he 
would use the word praise rather than the weaker term commend, 
had he not to find a rhyme with offend. 

NOTES. 367 


i. rime; the older and more correct spelling of rhyme. 

10. Cf. the similar appeal to the example of Italian writers in the 
Preface to S. A. Italian works in blank verse (versi sciolti) which 
illustrate what Milton says in both places are : Trissino's tragedy 
Sofonisba, written about 1514, and his heroic poem Italia Liberata, 
published 1548 (cf. Johnson's Life of M. ad Jin.) ; Ruccelai's Rosmunda 
(1516), modelled on Sofonisba', Tasso's poem on the Creation; and 
Alamanni's didactic work La Coltivazione (1546). The influence of 
Italian poetry on Milton is seen also in the free ( ' Apolelymenos ') 
measures of the choruses of Samson Agonistes, and in Lycidas. 

"Among the Spanish poets, Mr Bowie mentions Francisco de 
Aldana, who translated the Epistles of Ovid into Spanish blank verse ; 
and Gonsalvo Perez, who, in like manner, translated the Odyssey of 
Homer" (Todd). 

n, 12. Scarcely pleasant reading for Dryden who had defended 
rhyme, and whose rhymed dramas were appearing in quick succession. 
We have, I believe, a similar hit at him in the Preface to *$". A. In 
the Preface to his Juvenal Dryden retorted that whatever might be 
Milton's "alleged" reasons for "the abolishing of rhyme," the real 
reason was "that rhyme was not his talent." 

20. Practically it was quite true that Paradise Lost was the first 
great English poem, of a non-dramatic type, written in blank verse, 
though Surrey had used a rhymeless measure in his translation of the 
second (1557) and fourth (1548) books of the ALneid\ cf. Ascham's 
Schoolmaster (1570), " The noble Lord Th' Earle of Surrey, first of all 
English men, in translating the fourth booke of Virgill...auoyded the 
fault of Ryming" (Bonn's ed., p. 217). There are also some blank verse 
pieces by Nicholas Grimald in Tottel's Miscellany (1557) e.g. "The 
Death of Zoroas," Arber's ed., pp. 120 23, and "Ciceroes death," 
pp. 12325. And Gascoigne's Steele Glas (1576) is " written without 
rime," as he notes in the " Epistle Dedicatorie " (Arber, p. 45). But 
these works, though interesting to the student, have no great intrinsic 
merit, and Milton's claim is substantially unimpeachable. The next 
long epic after Paradise Lost in blank verse was Phillips' Cider (1706), 
an imitation of the Georgics ; and Thomson (Autumn) in addressing 
Phillips says : 

' ' the second thou 

Who nobly durst in rhyme-unfettered verse 
With British freedom sing the British song " ; 

an obvious allusion to Milton (whom Thomson imitates constantly) 
and this Preface. 



Abbreviations : 

M. = Milton, or Milton's poetry, as distinguished from his prose. 

P. W. Milton's prose-works (in " Bohn's Standard Library"). 

P. R. = Paradise Regained. 

S.A. = Samson Agonist 'es. 

Nat. Ode = Ode On the Morning of Chris? s Nativity. 
Other books of Paradise Lost are indicated by Roman numerals. 

i 6. Like Homer and Vergil he indicates the theme of his poem 
at the outset. Cf. the beginning of Paradise Regained : 
" I, who erewhile the happy Garden sung 
By one man's disobedience lost, now sing 
Recovered Paradise to all mankind, 
By one man's firm obedience fully tried 
Through all temptation, and the Tempter foiled 
In all his wiles, defeated and repulsed, 
And Eden raised in the waste Wilderness." 
2. mortal, deadly the late Lat. use of mortalis. 
4. Eden = Paradise, one greater Man, the Messiah ; Romans v. 1 9. 
6 1 6. The invocation of the Muse is an epic convention ; like 
Dante and Tasso, M. follows therein Homer and Vergil. The signifi- 
cance lies in his choice of a power to be addressed : not one of the 
Nine Muses to whom a Greek or Roman poet would have appealed, but 
the Muse of sacred song, the Heavenly power which inspired Moses on 
Sinai, and David on Zion, and the other prophets of Israel. Twice he 
speaks of great singers as "taught by the Heavenly Muse" (in. 19, 
Comus, 515), and in VII. i 4 he gives her the name "Urania," 'the 
Heavenly.' Book vii. i 39, where, having completed half his task, 
the poet petitions the Muse afresh, should be compared with this 

6. Perhaps secret ~Lrt.. secretns, 'apart, retired'; cf. n. 891. 

7. Oreb, or. ..Sinai. M. may be referring to the two occasions on 
which Moses received a Divine communication (i) when the Lord, 
appeared to him in a burning bush, Exod. iii. ; (2) when he was given 
the Law, Exod. xix. xxxi. Myself, I believe that only the latter is 
intended, and that M., contrasting Exod. xix. 20 with Dent. iv. 10, 
does not decide whether the mountain where Moses received the Law 

NOTES. 369 

should be called "Oreb or Sinai." The accounts can be harmonised 
easily : Horeb was the whole range, Sinai its lower part. Why in P. L. 
(cf. xi. 74) M. prefers Oreb to Horeb, I do not know: in the Cambridge 
MSS. is the entry: "the golden calfe, or the massacre in Horeb." 

8. that shepherd, Moses, who " kept the flock of Jethro " on Horeb, 
Exod. iii. i. first taught; in Genesis i. Of course, M. drew largely on 
the Mosaic books of the Old Testament. 

9, 10. the Heavens, i.e. the sky and starry realms of this Universe. 
Chaos = "\\\Q vast Abyss," 21 ; "the gloomy deep," 152. 

1012. Cf. in. 30, 31. 

Siloa s brook\ more familiar to us in the description "pool," through 
John ix. 7, 1 1 ; but Isaiah's words, of which M. may be thinking "the 
waters of Shiloah that go softly," viii. 6 imply that the waters of the 
pool overflowed into the garden below and so formed a streamlet, 
which would find its way into the Kidron. Josephus notes the 
abundant water of Siloa (which he always calls a spring, ^77777), 
Bellunijudaicuni) V. 4. i. The form Siloa illustrates Milton's dislike of 
sh ; see the note on 398. The Septuagint has ZiXwd/t, the Vulgate Siloe. 

The reason, doubtless, why M. specially refers to Siloa is this. The 
Muses (says Hesiod, at the beginning of the Theogony) frequent "the 
dark-coloured spring (Aganippe)... and altar of Zeus." Imitating that 
passage in Lycidas, 15, (6, M. addresses the Muses as 

"Sisters of the sacred well, 

That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring." 
He connects the spring with the altar cf. // Penseroso, 48 to show 
the sanctity of poetic inspiration. Here he takes Hesiod's thought, 
which he before presented in its classical dress, and gives it a Scriptural 
investiture : the result being a complete parallel between the classical 
Muses who haunt the spring that rises by the altar of Zeus, and the 
Heavenly Muse who haunts the spring that flows by the Temple ("the 
oracle") ot the Almighty. 

12. fast by, close by. Siloa was outside Jerusalem, in the valley 
that skirted Mt Moriah, on which stood the Temple, oracle, "thy 
holy oracle," Psalm xxviii. 2. 

14. The metaphor in "flight," "soar," is a iavourite with M. 
Cf. HI. 13, vn. 3, 4, ix. 45. no middle flight ', i.e. he will ascend to 
the highest Empyrean. 

14, 15. He hopes to be filled with a higher inspiration, so as to 
treat of higher things, than the classical poets whose inspiration came 
from the Muses of antiquity. the Aonian motmt^ Helicon, in 
Bceotia; sacred to the Muses whence their title Aonides. Pope 

P. L. 2A 


calls them "Aonian maids" (Messiah], and Campbell, "Aonian 
Muses" (Pleasures of Hope). 

15. pursues, treats of; " in the sense of the Latin sequor. E noto 
fctum carmen sequar, Horace, Ars Poetica 240" (Keightley). 

16. This claim to novelty of theme recalls Comus, 43 45 : 

" I will tell you now 

What never yet was heard in tale or song, 
From old or modern bard, in hall or bower," 

i.e. "in prose or rhyme" (a phrase of Ariosto). Similar claims might 
be instanced in Vergil, Spenser, and other poets, e.g. Horace's carmina 
non prins \ audita... canto (Od. III. i. 2 4). Dante says that he has seen 
in Paradise " things which whoso descendeth from up there hath nor 
knowledge nor power to retell," though he will try to (Paradise, i. 5, 6). 
rhyme, verse. 

17 26. Cf. the similar invocation of the Holy Spirit in P. K. I. 
8 17 : a higher power than the Muse addressed above. "There can 
be little doubt that Milton believed himself to be, in some real sense, an 
inspired man " (Masson). In The Reason of Church Government ', n., 
he says that a great poem can only be achieved through "devout prayer 
to that eternal Spirit, who can enrich with all utterance and knowledge " 
(P. W. ii. 481) ; and in The Christian Doctrine, I. 6, he explains that 
sometimes the Spirit means in Scripture " that impulse or voice of God 
by which the prophets were inspired" (P. W. iv. 152). 

19. for than know 1 st. Cf. Homer, Iliad II. 484, tffireTc v\>v /uoi, 
Mouacu... | v/xets yap 6eal tyre, irdpeffTt re, fore re Trdvra ; and Theo- 
critus XXII. 116, etV 0ed, ffv yap olffda. 

20, 21. Cf. the account of the Creation in vn. 234, 235. In Genesis 
i. 2 the Heb. verb rendered "moved" in A.V. (ferebatur in the Vulgate) 
means either 'fluttered* (Luther has schwebete}, as in Deut. xxxii. n, 
where it is used of an eagle hovering ; or ' brooded ' (incubabat in Basil 
and others of the Latin Fathers), like a bird hatching eggs. Cf. Sir 
Thomas Browne, Religio, xxxm., "This is that gentle heat that brooded 
on the waters, and in six days hatched the world." 

21. dove-like. The allusion, I believe, is to the descent of the 
Holy Ghost "in a bodily shape like a dove" (Luke iii. 22) ; cf. P. R. 
* 3O> 83. This may be inferred from The Christian Doctrine, I. 6. 

22, 23. -what in me is dark illumine ; the thought is expanded in 
in. 4055- 

24. argument, subject = Lat. argumentum; cf. IX. 28. 

25. assert, vindicate. 

26. Cf. S. A. 293, 294: 

"Just are the ways of God, 
And justifiable to men " ; 

NOTES. 37 1 

the Scriptural reference being to passages like Ps. cxlv. 17 and Rev. 
xv. 3, "just and true are thy ways." Pope professed the same design ; 
cf. the Essay on Man, I. 15, 16 : 

"Laugh where we must, be candid where we can, 

But vindicate the ways of God to man." 
See also Gray's Progress of Poesy, 47. justify, i.e. " to men." 

29. grand, i.e. first, original. 

31, 32. i.e. transgress his will because of ("for") one restraint. 
Keightley makes for one restraint qualify what follows 'lords of the 
world (cf. ix. 658), but for a single restraint.' 

33. Cf. Iliad i. 8. 

36. what time, at the time when, Lat. quo tempore. " What time 
I am afraid, I will trust in thee," Psalm Ivi. 3. So in Comtts, 291, 
Lycidas, 28. 

39. peers, equals, Lat. pares ; cf. Lyddas, 9. 

40. See Isaiah xiv. 12 15. 

45. flaming', cf. Luke x. 18, " And he said unto them, I beheld 
Satan as lightning fall from heaven." the ethereal sky, the Empyrean. 

46. rutn = L,a.i. ruina, 'falling 5 ; see ill. 258, note. 
combustion, utter destruction. 

47. there', in "the bottomless pit" (vi. 866 see note). 

48. in adamantine chains. Cf. 2 Pet. ii. 4, "if God spared not the 
angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them 
into chains of darkness" (see 72); also Jude 6, Rev. xx. i, i. See 
II. 169, 183, 196, III. 82. 

50. nine, traditionally a significant number, being a multiple of 
three (see 619). Their fall from Heaven lasted nine days (vi. 871), as 
did that of the Titans in Hesiod. Dante students will remember the 
great significance that is attached to the number nine in the Vita 

55. pain, physical suffering. Cf. 125, 147, 336 ; the point is 
emphasised by Milton (and lost if we interpret pain=- 'punishment'). 
Later, M. shows how the fallen angels first became sensible of pain 
through their sin (see vi. 327, note). 

56. baleful, full of woe. 

57. witnessed, showed, testified to. 

58. Scan obdiirate, as always in M. ; cf. VI. 790. 

59. The original editions have^f ngels kenn. Throughout the volume 
the apostrophe indicative of the genitive was omitted (as often happened 
then) : hence Angels may have stood also for Angel's or Angels' (cf. 754). 
Some modern texts print Angel's ken, making ken a noun. But M. 
uses ken as a verb (v. 265, xi. 396), and I prefer to take it so here 



with the sense, 'as far as angels see.' Cf. 2 Henry VL ill. ^. 101, 
" As far as I could ken thy chalky cliffs." 

60. dismal '; a much more poetic word then. 

61. "Of all the articles, of which the dreadful scenery of Milton's 
Hell consists, Scripture furnished him only with a Lake of Fire and 
Brimstone" (Cowper). See n. 575, 576, note. 

63. no light, i.e. there was. It was a popular belief that the flames 
of Hell gave no light (Keightley). Cf. Herrick's Noble Numbers : 
"The fire of Hell this strange condition hath, 
To burn, not shine (as learned Basil saith).' 1 

darkness visible \ an obvious oxymoron (see 692). What M. means is 
not absolute darkness ('pitch darkness,' as we say), for then the 
"sights of woe" would have been invisible but the gloom which half 
conceals and half reveals objects, and itself (to borrow Pope's words) 
"strikes the sense no less than light." The Dnnciad, iv. i 4, is an apt 
parody. Mr Beeching reminds us of Job x. 22. 

66, 67. Doubtless from Euripides, Troades 68 1, 682, ipoi yap ou3' 
8 iraffi XeiTTcrai /S/sorots | ^vveffriv c\irls ('to me even hope, which all 
mortals have, is lost'). Probably too there is an echo of Dante's 
famous words "All hope abandon, ye who enter here" placed over 
the gates of Hell, Inferno, ill. 9. 

68. urges, afflicts, plies Lat. urgere\ cf. "exercise," n. 89. 

72. utter darkness ; again in ill. 16, v. 614. utter > outer. 

74, 75. He makes the distance of Hell from the Empyrean = three 
times the distance of the Earth ("the centre ") from the "utmost pole" 
of the globe or Universe (i.e. that point in the surface of the globe 
which is nearest to the Empyrean). The calculation is suggested by 
lliadvm. 16, &neid\\. 577 79. 

79 8 1. Beelzebub ; seen. 299, note. 

82. Satan = ' adversary ': a name first given to him when he 
rebelled: his "former name" being thenceforth heard no more (v. 658, 
659). It is not, I think, clear whether this "former name " was ' ' Lucifer " 
(cf. vn. 131 33), or some other title which, like the titles of the other 
rebels, was utterly blotted out (cf. 36163, vi. 37680). I believe, 
however, that M. means us to understand that both "Lucifer" and 
"Satan" were later names, given after the rebellion. 

84, 85. A double allusion to Isaiah xiv. 12, "how art thou fallen from 
heaven," and JEneid 1 1. 274, 275, quantum mutatus ab illo \ Hectare. 

86. didst ; grammar requires did', the sense implies 'thou.' 

8- 91. Cf. v. 676 78, where Satan says to Beelzebub that 
they had ever been wont to share each other's thought and "were 
one." To Beelzebub he first hinted his purpose to rebel (v. 673). 



87. if he, i.e. if than beest he ; the sentence is not completed 
(auacohtthon}. M. often uses this abrupt style to suggest the speaker's 
agitation ; cf. v. 30 et seq. 

91, 92. into what. ..from what', cf. V. 543 and P. R. u. 30, 31 
An imitation perhaps of Gk. ofo9... r y as in Sophocles, Trachinia 
994, t'eptDi/ o'iav o'iwv...xo.piv, 'what a return (i.e. how poor) for what 
sacrifices' (i.e. how great); and Electro, 751, ol' tpya dpdvas ola \ay- 

Xfofl KCLK&. 

93. Cf. the account of the battle in m. 392, 393, vi. 83638. 

94. Satan's defiant spirit recalls the stubborn attitude of Prometheus 
towards Zeus in ^Eschylus's play. 

97. fixed mind; cf. // Penseroso, 4, The Faerie Quecne, iv. 7. 16, 
"Yet nothing could my fixed mind remove" (change). 

98. high disdain. A common phrase with our old poets Spenser 
(The Faerie Queene, r. r. 19), Sylvester and others; taken from the 
alto sdegno of Italian writers (Todd). "High" is a favourite epithet 
of Dante, especially in abstract phrases like "the high virtue" (falta 
virth], God's high decree " (alto fato di Dio], ' ' the high Providence " 
(falta Prowidenza]-, see the Inferno, xxm. 55, xxvi. 82, xxxi. no- 
Purgatono, xxvi. 72, xxx. 40, 142; Paradise, I. 106, xxvn. 61. 

104. dubious, because the battle lasted for three days (bk. vi.). 

105. shook his throne. A boastful exaggeration; cf. 114 and see 
vi. 833, 834. field, battle (u. 768); cf. Lat. campus. The Second Ed. 
has the note of interrogation at the end of the line. 

107. study, pursuit of; like Lat. studium, it often meant 'en- 
deavour,' as in King Lear, I. i. 279; cf. xi. 577. 

10811. The Second Ed. has at the end of 108 a colon of 109 
a note of interrogation ; and in 1 1 1 a full stop after me. This punctua- 
tion, variously altered in many texts, I retain. Some editors remove 
the interrogation in 109, treating the line as a relative clause, as though 
Satan said : 'I retain my wilt (106), my hate (107), my courage (108), 
and all other qualities in me that cannot be overcome.' This gives 
good sense. But the interrogative form may, I think, be interpreted 
thus: 'to retain one's hate, one's courage etc., is not that to be still 
unsubdued : in what else but this lies the test of being not over- 
come?' In one of the last of Tonson's editions (1738), I find line 
109 bracketed, i.e. treated as a parenthesis. 

what... else ; to be taken together ; cf. 683. 

no. Regarding 109 as parenthetical, I take that glory to refer 
back to 108 : never' (says Satan) shall the Victor extort from me the 
jlorv to him of my submission.' Some explain 'the glory (i.e. 
Satan s) of not being overcome' ; but does this suit " extort " ? 


115. Scan ignomy ; see II. 207, note. 

116. by fate; important because Satan denies (v. 860 63) that the 
angels were created by the Almighty: they were, he says, self-begotten 
by their own " quickening power," at the time decreed by the course of 
fate. Fate, not the Almighty, he recognises as superior. 

gods, divine beings ; cf. v. 60, note. 

117. Can the fiery substance (see u. 139 42, 274, 275, notes) 
of their forms perish (" fail ")? Satan thinks not: Moloch and Belial 
are less certain (ir. 99, 146 54). 

120. successful hope, hope of success; so in Shakespeare often. 
Cf. "sterile curse" = the curse of sterility, Julius Ca-sar, \. 2. 9. 

122. grand, great (like Fr. grand} ; cf. II. 507. 

123. triumphs', Dryden always accents the verb triumph ; cf. The 
Hind and the Panther, in. 566: 

"Who but the Swallow now triumphs alone? 

The canopy of heaven is all her own." 
See the Religio Laid, 56. 

124. tyranny. M. makes him use the most offensive word not 
"monarchy," as in 42, where the poet was speaking in his own person. 
See u. 59, note. 

128. throned powers ; Satan's followers in general ("throned" cf. 
360 merely suggesting their dignity) : not the particular Order of the 
Hierarchies called Thrones, since Satan is an Archangel. 

138. essences, beings. ) 

139. remains', singular, because "mind and spirit" form one 
idea. This is a common usage in Shakespeare ; cf. Troilus and 
Cressida, IV. 5. 170, "faith and troth... bids thee." See Lycidas, 7. 

141. though... glory extinct. Cf. 394, 395, and S. A. 738, 739. 
I think that these are absolute constructions, modelled perhaps on the 
Lat. ablative absolute ; but there may be an ellipse of the auxiliary 
verb, extinct, quenched (like a flame). 

144. of force, perforce; so IV. 813. 

148. suffice, satisfy = Lat. stifficere. 

149 52. Cf. The Christian Doctrine, I. 9, "They (evil angels) are 
sometimes permitted to wander throughout the whole earth, the air 
(cf. 430), and heaven itself, to execute the judgments of God." 

150. his business, the work he appoints for us to do. 

155. to undergo, i.e. so as to undergo (not dependent on avail, 153). 

158. doing or suffering, i.e. whether in an active or passive state; 
cf. the common antithesis Spav... TraQeiv, see II. 199, P. R. in. 194, 


167. if I fail not, if I am not mistaken, Lat. ni fallor. 

NOTES. 375 

1 70. his ministers, the good angels ; but, essentially, the expulsion 
of the rebels was due to the Messiah, "sole victor" (vi. 880). 

xyj -7. See vi. 858 79. laid, i.e. to rest, stilled; cf. P. R. 
iv. 429, and Tennyson, Margaret, "Your spirit is the calmed sea, 
Laid by the tumult of the fight," and Qtteen Mary, I. 5, "God lay the 
waves and strow the storms at sea." So sterncre (sEneidv. 763) and 
ponerein Lat.; cf. ponerefreta, Horace, Odes I. 3. 16. 

176. /V=its; or he may be personifying "thunder." 

178. slip, let slip; cf. Macbeth, n. 3. 52, "I have almost slipped 
the hour." 

185. A reminiscence of Richard II. v. r. 5, 6: 

" Here let us rest, if this rebellious earth 
Have any resting for her true king's queen." 

186. afflicted, struck down, routed (Lat. afflictus}. powers, forces. 

187. offt'nd\A.\.. offenders, 'to strike at, harm' ; cf. vi. 465. 
191. Cf. vi. 787, "hope conceiving from despair." if not, i.e. 

if we may not gain reinforcement. 

197. as whom, as those whom, fables, the mythological stories 
of the classics; Milton generally speaks of them contemptuously as 

198. Earth-born, the Giants; like the Titans (with whom writers 
confused them much) they were reputed the offspring of Uranus an d_Ge 
(Earth); see 509, note, and 778. that warred; referring to the Giants 
only; the legend of their conflict with Zeus (or Jove) seerns to be due 
to the earlier revolt of the Titans against Uranus. 

199. Briareos or Typhon; the former (centumgeminus Briareus, 
sEn. vi. 287), being the son of Uranus, is meant to represent the Titans 
the latter, the Giants. The legends about both were conflicting. 
Scan Briareos, though classically the name is Brtdreus. 

or Typhon. Cf. Fairfax, Tasso, II. 91, "He looked like huge Tiphoius 
loos'd from hell." Typhon, or Typhoeus, is commonly described as 
a hundred-headed serpent-monster, who, trying to seize sovereignty 
over gods and men, was vanquished by Zeus with a thunderbolt and 
buried under ^itna. See II. 539. 

200. Tarsus, the capital of Cilicia ; M. alludes here to Pindar and 
./Eschylus who describe Typhon as living in "a Cilician den"; cf. 
/Eschylus, Prometheus Vinctus 351 54, rbv yrjyevi] re Kihucluv ot/ojropa | 
at>Tp<i)i'...Tv<puva ('the earth-born inhabitant of Cilician dens'), where 

seems to be quoting Pindar, Pyth. I. 17, [Typhon] rbv irore \ 
dptyev TroXvuvv/jiov avrpov. So Pyth. VIII. 16, Tu0ws Kl\i. 
This Typhon is said to be not the same as the Egyptian Typhon 
of the Nativity Ode, 226, and of the wonderful allegory of Isis and 


Osiris in the Areopagitica (P. W. n. 89); the latter Typhon being the 
Egyptian god Set. But M. either identifies them in the Nativity Ode, 
or else transfers to the Egyptian Typhon the description ("Typhon 
huge ending in snaky twine ") proper to his Greek namesake. See 
Osgood's Classical Mythology in Milton, pp. 83, 84. 

201. The Bibles of that time identified the Leviathan with the 
whale, and M. probably did so; but the Heb. livydthdn was used of 
any huge monster, e.g. the crocodile, Psalm Ixxiv. 14. 

202. ocean-stream ; Homer's poos (or Trorayuos) w/v'tdvoio. 

203 208. Todd quotes a story to this effect from the Swedish 
writer Olaus Magnus, whose History of the Northern Nations had been 
Englished (1658). Evidently some remarkable 'traveller's tales' as to 
the size of whales were in circulation : Heylin, Cosmography (1682 ed.), 
tells us of 'Leviathans' four acres big (in. 191, 192). Cf. Milton's own 
description, vu. 412 16. 

-204. pilot, steersman (S. A. 198) ; or 'master of the vessel.' 
night-foundered, benighted; literally * plunged or sunk in night' (and 
so unable to continue his course). Cf. Counts, 483. 

206. i.e. with anchor fixed in his rind. Such inversions of the 
order of words are common in Shakespeare; cf. Richard II. in. i. 9. 
As a matter of natural history, whales have not "scaly rinds" ; but M. 
alludes to Job xli. 15 (where, however, the crocodile is meant). 

207. the lee, the sheltered side. 

208. invests ; in the Latin sense ' to wrap ' (investire). 

211. heaved, lifted ; cf. Germ, heben. To "heave the head" occurs 
in S. A. 197, Cotmis, 885, U Allegro, 145 ; Dryden borrowed it (St 
Cecilia's Day). 

221. rears, raises ; as often in Spenser and Shakespeare. 

226. incumbent, leaning, resting, on (Lat. incumbens). 

229. liquid fire', a Vergilian phrase; cf. Eclogue vi. 33. 

230 33. This notion of earthquakes being caused by the escape of 
winds from underground recurs in vi. 195 98, S. A. 1647, 1648. 

232. Pelorus, the north-east promontory of Sicily, now Cape Faro; 
near /Etna, by whose volcanic action M. implies that it was affected. 

233 37. Editors compare ALncidm. 571 77. 

233. whose. The antecedent is Pelorus as well as ^Etna, the 
description that follows being applied to both. 

235. sublimed, kindled into pure flame. 

236. involved, wrapped in (Lat. involvere). 
239. Stygian fiood, the " fi ery gulf "(52). 

242. clime \ here and in 297 the sense seems to be 'climate, tem- 
perature'; but in ii. 572, 'region, realm.' 

NOTES. 377 

-244. change for, take in exchange for. 

246. sovran ; the Italianised form used by M. 

248. i.e. they were his equals in reason, but not in po\ver. 

253. Cf. Horace's calum non aninium nmtant qui trans mare 
air runt (Epist. I. n. 27). 

254. A glance at the teaching of the Stoics (Thyer). its ; see 
IV. 813. Goldsmith probably remembered these lines when he wrote : 

" Still to ourselves in every place consign'd, 

Our own felicity we make or find " (77ie Traveller']. 
Compare also Hamlet's sentiment that "there is nothing either good 
or bad, but thinking makes it so " (n. 2. 255 57) ; where editors cite 
similar passages from Montaigne's Essays (i. 40) and Lyly, in illustra- 
tion of the Elizabethan love of aphorism. 

255. A reminiscence, I suppose, of A Midsummer- NighCs Dream, 
II. i. 243, "I'll follow thee and make a heaven of hell." Hartley 
Coleridge says, "One sinful wish would make a hell of heaven." For 
this conception of Hell as not a place, but a mental state, of punish- 
ment, see IV. 20 23 ; also xii. 587, note. Sir Thomas Browne writes, 
Religio Medici, Li., "every devil is an hell unto himself; he holds 
enough of torture in his own ubi" In Marlowe's Faust us, when the 
Doctor asks, "Where is the place that men call hell?", Mephistophilis 
replies (v. 119, 120) : 

"Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed 
In one self place ; for where we are is hell." 

257. all but less than = nearly equal to. The phrase is a combina- 
tion of only less than ' and * all but equal to ' (Beeching). 

259. i.e. in building Hell the Almighty has created a place such 
that he could never grudge Satan its possession. 

261 63. When William Lauder published in 1750 his infamous 
Essay on Milton, the object of which was to show that the poet had 
plagiarised from a number of obscure writers (mostly foreign scholars 
of the i6th and i7th cents.), he took these three lines, translated them 
into what he conceived to be Iambic verse, said that he had found 
them in the Adamtts Exul (1601) of Grotius, and printed them as a 
convincing proof of Milton's dishonesty. His version runs or limps 
thus : nam, me judice, \ regnare dignitm est ambilu, etsi in Tartaro ; 
| alto prceesse Tartaro siquidem (sic) juvat, \ ctzlis quam in ipsis servi 
obire mtinia. In 1752 he reprinted the Adamus in his Delecttis, but 
did not venture to interpolate his forgery. The mischief, however, had 
been done ; for Bishop Newton printed the lines in his notes on this 
passage as genuine, and remarked that M. had evidently ' translated ' 
them from Grotius. Of course, the fraud was eventually exposed. 


Bishop Newton, whose own work in editing Paradise Lost was of 
signal merit, had no reason to suspect Lauder, and probably no 
opportunity of consulting the Adamus. 

263. Probably the germ of this famous line (varied in VI. 183, 184) 
is Homer, Od. xi. 488, where Achilles (in Hades) says that he would 
rather serve on earth as a poor man's slave, than reign over all the dead. 
Fletcher says of the fallen angels, "In Heaven they scorn'd to serve, so 
now in Hell they reign" ( The Purple Island ', vil. 10). 

266. oblivious, causing forgetfulness ; cf. II. 74. 

276, 277. Cf. VI. 108. edge\^.\.. acies, the front line of a fight. 

281. amazed, utterly confounded ; a far stronger word then ; cf. 313. 

282. pernicious, destructive, ruinous ; some, however, explain it 
'great,' 'excessive.' 

284 87. his... shield; see VI. 254 56. like the moon ; Spenser had 
appropriated the sun for this simile; cf. The Faerie Queene, n. 2. 21, 
" His sunbroad shield about his wrest (i.e. wrist) he bond." 

285. temper a thing tempered (cf. II. 813): abstract for concrete. 

288. optic glass ; apparently not an uncommon phrase for the tele- 
scope ; I find it in Giles Fletcher, Christ 's Victory on Earth, 60, and 
in Henry More, Song of the Soul: 

"The Opticke glasse has shown to sight 
The dissolution of these starrie crouds" 

(p. 212, Cambridge ed. 1647). Cf. "optic tube," in. 590 (borrowed 
by Thomson, Autumn}. Galileo did not invent the telescope, but he 
developed it : hence it is generally associated with his name; cf. Bacon, 
"those glasses (ilia perspicilla} discovered by the memorable efforts of 
Galileo," Novum Organon, xxxix. 

A Tuscan by birth, Galileo (cf. v. 261 63, note) passed the latter 
part of his life in, or near, Florence. M. saw him (1638 39); cf. the 
Areopagitica: "There (in Italy) it was that I found and visited the 
famous Galileo, grown old, a prisoner to the Inquisition, for thinking 
in astronomy otherwise than the Franciscan and Dominican licensers 
thought," P. W. II. 82. Another great Englishman who visited 
Galileo not long before M. (in 1636) was Hobbes. The poet would 
remember that, like himself, Galileo lost his sight (about 1638). See 
an article, " Galileo in the Val D'Arno," in The Monthly Review, 
April, 1907. 

289, 290. There is true pathos in the mention, here arid in 302 
304, of Italian scenes. M. is revisiting in memory places associated 
with what was, perhaps, the happiest period of his whole life, viz. his 
stay in Italy : "times when... I tasted bliss without alloy" (as he wrote 
in 1647, Letter). He always spoke of Italy with the deepest affection: 

NOTES. 379 

especially of Florence which he loved for its language (Letter, 1638), 
"its genius and taste" (Second Defence), and the friends whom he should 
ever remember with pleasure (vestri nunqiiam meminisse pigebit 
Epitaphium Damonis, 125). He was much courted there by men of 
letters, says his nephew (Life of M., 1694). 

Fesole, Fiesole, classical Fcesulce; a hill about three miles north-east 
of Florence. Valdarno, the valley of the river Arno, in which Florence 
lies. Here (290) M. has in mind Galileo's last residence at the villa 
called // Gioello ('the Gem') at Arcetri, on the left bank of the Arno, 
i.e. west of the main part of the city. Near this villa "an old tower is 
still pointed out as having once been his observatory" (Masson). There 
is a passage in one of Milton's Letters from Florence, in which he speaks 
of his "visiting with delight the stream of the Arno, and the hills of 
F^esohe" (P. W. 111.497). 

292. 293. his spear. ..the mast. I find the comparison twice in 
Fairfax's famous translation (1600) of Tasso's epic Jerusalem Delivered 
(briefly referred to in these Notes as "Fairfax, Tasso"); cf. in. 17, 
"Mast-great the spear was which the gallant bore," and VI. 39. 

293. Norwegian hills. Norway, of course, was a great timber- 
emporium : thence, says Hexham's Mercator (1636), "the high 
masts for shipping, the plankes and boords of Oak and firre trees 
are sent yeerely in great abundance into Germanie, Holland, France, 
England, Spayne, and other places" (i. 93). And Jonson says that the 
appearance of the tall-masted vessels of the Armada was as if "half of 
Norway with her fir trees came," Prince Henry's Barriers. See also 
Dryden, Annus Mirabilis, st. 143. 

294. ammiral, the chief vessel of a fleet, the flagship. 
296. marie, soil ; more correctly used of rich, moist earth. 
those, i.e. the well-known, famous (Lat. illi). 

298. Cf. VI. 214, and P. R. i. 116. 

299. nathless r\Q\. the less : A. S. nd=not. 

302. The comparison of a multitude to fallen autumnal leaves is 
found in Homer, Vergil, Dante, and other epic poets. Cf. Dryden 
(who has obviously recollected this passage), "Thick as the leaves in 
autumn strew the woods... the army stands," sEn. vi. 428. M. was 
himself at Florence in the autumn (September, 1638). The Italian 
allusion in 302 304 follows naturally on the other (288 90). 

303, 304. Vallombrosa, 'shady valley' ; about 18 miles from Florence. 
The name is applied not only to the valley itself, but to the wood-covered 
amphitheatre of hills rising therefrom. High up stands a monastery (now 
secularised) where M. was said to have spent some days (a tradition of 
which Wordsworth makes effective use in his "At Vallombrosa"), and 


in the chapel an organ used to be shown as that on which M. played. 
The reference to the fallen leaves is appropriate, the approach to the 
monastery being through forests of chestnut and beech trees, deciduous 
species. Dean Stanley wrote, "inasmuch as the whole mountain is 
furrowed with streams, which gave to the place its original name of 
fiellacqna, the leaves constantly falling on these streams, and almost 
choking their currents, give the exact picture" painted by M.: "an 
instance" (he added) "of the tenacity of Milton's memory in retaining, 
through all the vicissitudes of civil war, age, and blindness, the precise 
recollection of what he had seen in early youth " Notes and Queries, 
V. v. 306, XI. 488, 489. 

There is a good description of Vallombrosa in a once popular book 
of travel, Eustace's Classical Tour through Italy, vol. in. chap. 2. 
He says that the monastery was " at all times celebrated in the literary 
history of Italy" (Ariosto, for instance, mentioning it in terms of high 
eulogy) ; so that Milton's reference is really a touch of his literary 
allusiveness, as well as an echo of happy personal experience. Eustace 
also notes that the description in Paradise Lost, iv. 131 42, has been 
thought by some to be a recollection of the scenery at Vallombrosa. 

embower, form as it were bowers. 

sedge ; "in allusion to the Hebrew name of the Red Sea, Yam 
Sfif, i.e. Sea of Sedge, on account of the quantity of sea-weed in it " 
(Keightley). As the angels are afloat on waves (of fire), the simile is 
in the highest degree appropriate. 

305. The rising of the constellation Orion (at midsummer) and his 
setting (at the beginning of November) being attended with storms, the 
name became proverbial of rain and " fierce winds." Cf. AZneid 
I. 535, nimbosits Orion, IV. 52, aquosns Orion ; and Grotius, Adamus 
Exnl illic procellis ttim idus Orion furit. So Marlowe, Fanslus, in. 2, 
"Orion's drizzling look"; and Hey wood's Hierarchic, "Orion... 
riseth in the winter season, disturbing both earth and sea with showres 
and tempests " (ed. 1635, p. 177). 

armed; from JEneid III. 517, annatmnque aitro circumspicit 
Oriona. "After his death, Orion [the great hunter] was placed among 
the Stars where he appears as a giant with a girdle, sword... and club" 
(Class. Diet.}. 

306 ii. Exodus xiv. vexed; in the sense ('to disturb violently, 
to buffet') of Lat. vexare, as applied to a storm, e.g. in Vergil, 
Eclogue vi. 76, Horace, Odes II. 9. 3. Cf. "the still-vex'd Ber- 
moothes," The Tempest, I. i. 229; and Tennyson's Ulysses, line n. 
See n. 660, and P. R. iv. 416. 

307. Late Greek writers (cf. the Xlth Oration of Isocrates) speak 

NOTES. 381 

of an Egyptian kin^ Busiris, unknown to Homer and Hesiod, and not 
mentioned in Egyptian records. Some describe him as builder of 
Thebes. Legend said that he was slain by Hercules an event depicted 
often on vases. Why M. identifies him with the Pharaoh who perished 
in the Red Sea, no one has ever explained. Some editors say that M. 
follows Raleigh's History; but Raleigh expressly states that Busiris 
was "the first oppressor of the Israelites" (p. 204), and that after two 
intervening reigns came "Cenchres drowned in the Red Sea" (p. 197, 
1621 ed.). Cf. again p. 218, "through which (i.e. Red Sea) Moses 
past, and in which Pharaoh, otherwise called Cenchres, perished." 
Either M. follows some unknown authority, or he treats Busiris as 
a general title for the rulers of Egypt, like 'Pharaoh.' 

Memphian Egyptian ; cf. 694. The same use occurs in Sylvester ; 
cf. "The Memphian Sages then, and subtill Priests," where the margin 
has, "The Magicians of Egypt" (Grosart's ed., I. 187). He calls the 
Egyptians variously "Memphites," "Memphists," and " Memphians." 
Memphis was the ancient capital (before Thebes) of Egypt; founded 
by Menes (ist monarch of ist dynasty), and called Men nefer, 'the 
good station,' from its position at the apex of the Delta. 

chivalry, forces, as P. R. in. 344. In neither place need we limit 
it to 'cavalry' (with which chivalry is etymologically identical). 

308. perfidious ; because he had given the Israelites leave to go. 

309. "Israel dwelt... in the country of Goshen," Gen. xlvii. 27. 

311. broken-, cf. xn. 210. 

312. abject^ cast down. 

320. virtue, valour = Lat. virtus. 

321. the vales of Heaven. In v. 642 55 he describes the angels 
sleeping in Heaven, "among the trees of life." 

330. One of the earliest allusions to Paradise Lost seems to occur 
in Marvell's Satires ("Britannia and Raleigh," 1673 or 1674) : "Awake, 
arise from thy long blest repose ! " (Aitken's ed., p. 82). 

33 5 . nor did they not, i.e. and they did Lat neque non. 

337. For "obey A?" (Fr. obeir a), cf. Greene, Friar Bacon, ix. 142, 
" I charge thee to obey to Vandermast"; Troilusand Cressida, ill. i. 165, 
and The Ph&nix, 4, "To whose sound chaste wings obey." There is a 
single instance in the Bible Romans vi. 16. 

33843. Exod. x. 12 15. See the account of the ten Plagues 
in xn. 184 86. Amrairfs son, Moses ; see Exod. vi. 20. 

340. a pitchy cloud, dark as pitch ; the expression occurs in the 
deleted lines of Comus, between 356 and 357 ; cf. i Henry V2. II. 2. i, 2 : 
"The day begins to break, and night is fled, 
Whose pitchy mantle over-veil'd the earth." 


341. warping^ working themselves, undulating, forward; the meta- 
phor of a ship. 

345. cope, roof, covering ; cf. iv. 992. 

351 55. Alluding to the invasions of Italy and the Roman empire 

*-by the Goths (as early as 248 A.D.); the Huns, notably under Attila, 

defeated at Chalons-sur-Marne, 451; and the Vandals. Genseric, or 

Gaiseric, the leader of the Vandals, crossed from Spain into Numidia, 

428, captured Carthage, 439, and built up an empire in Africa. 

Observe the effectiveness of the three similes whereby M. conveys 
an impression of the numbers of the angels. They are compared 
resting on the water, to fallen leaves (or floating sea-weed) : flying, to 
a cloud of locusts that "darkens" the land (Exodus x. 15): alighted, 
to a vast host that throngs a plain. Each aspect has its simile. 

353. Rhene, from Lat. Rhenns Rhine, and Danaw or Donau, the 
German form of Danube, were current forms in the ryth cent.; they are 
in Hexham's Mercator (1636) and Heylin's Cosmography (1682 ed.), 
perhaps the two most popular geographical works of the time. So 
"Rhenish wine "= Rhine wine, The Merchant of Venice^ I. 2. 104, 
Hamlet, I. 4. 10. 

355. beneath, south of; alluding to the Vandals. 

356. every ... each. A favourite variation with Milton; cf. Coinus, 
19, "Of every salt flood and each ebbing stream," and 311, "I know 
each land and every alley green." Etymologically ever^y ever- 

361 75. Again in vi. 379, 380, he tells us that the original 
names of the apostate angels were " Cancelled from Heaven and sacred 
memory." How then is he to describe them? He must give them 
some titles. So he adopts (see pp. 672 74) the view that they became 
the gods of heathenism, oriental and classical, and here, by anticipa- 
tion, uses those "new names" (365) which later ages assigned to 

363. Bentley thought that M. dictated Book', cf. Rev. iii. 5. A 
passage in The Christian Doctrine, I. 4, seems to make this probable : 
"mention is frequently made of those who are written among 
the living and of the book of life, but never of the book of 

37 37 1 ' & ee Romans i. 23. 

372. religions, religious rites, full of pomp ; M. often expresses 
dislike of ceremony and ritual in worship (see xn. 534). 

376. who first, who last', rLva irpurov, rlva 8' tiffraTOv, Iliad V. 
703. The long list of the deities is intended as a counterpart to 
Homer's catalogue of the ships and Vergil's list of warriors. 

NOTES. 383 

381. Those who led astray "the chosen people" come first. 

382 91. Texts probably glanced at are: I Pet. v. 8; Ezek. vii. 20, 
xliii. 8; Exod. xxv. 22 ; i Kings xix. 15. For the setting up of altars 
to heathen gods inside the Temple, see Manasseh's reign, 2 Kings xxi. 

386. thundering-, " perhaps taken from Exodus xx., where Jehovah * 
thunders the Ten Commandments from Sinai" (Beeching). 

386, 387. The reference is to the golden images of Cherubim, with 
expanded wings, placed over the mercy-seat covering the ark in the 
Tabernacle. Cf. Psalm Ixxx. i. 

389. abominations ; the Bible word for idolatrous worship. 

391. affront '; commonly taken in its primary sense 'to con- 
front,' 'face' (Lat. ad+frons)d. Hamlet, in. r. 31; but ix. 328 
and P. R. ill. 161 make the ordinary sense, 'to insult,' more 

392. Moloch; god of the Sun regarded as a destroying power; "the 
abomination of the children of Ammon," i Kings xi. 7; worshipped 
with human sacrifices, 2 Kings xxiii. 10, Ps. cvi. 37, 38. The name, 
better written 'Mokch,' means 'King' (cf. Amos v. 26, margin), 
and M. generally adds "King" (cf. n. 43, vi. 357). He comes 
"first" because "fiercest" (n. 44). With these lines, 39296, cf. 
the Nativity Ode, 205 10, where Warton pointed out Milton's 
probable obligation to Sandys. 

396. Sandys, whose Relation (1615) of his travels in Palestine was 
certainly known to Milton (see again xn. 143, 144, note), gives, no 
doubt, the picture of the idol handed down by Jewish tradition, and 
describes it as "of brasse, hauing the head of a Calfe, the rest of a 
kingly figure, with armes extended to receive the miserable sacrifice, 
seared to death with his burning embracements. For the Idol was 
hollow within, filled with fire. And least their lamentable shreeks 
should sad the hearts of their parents, the Priests of Molech did deafe 
their eares with the continual clang of trumpets and timbrels," Relation, 
p. 1 86 (ed. 1637). This sacrifice of children by fire was due to the 
notion that the fierce summer heat of the god would be allayed thereby 

396 99. Rabba, the capital of the Ammonites, " the city of waters" 
2 Sam. xii. 27: Argob, a district of the mountain range of Bashan\ 
Arnon, the boundary river between Moab and the Amorites: all E. 
of Jordan. Part of this territory (as Keightley notes) belonged to not 
the Ammonites, spite of their claim (Judg. xi. 13) but the Amorites. 

398. Basan ; the form used in the Septuagint, Vulgate, and 
Prayer-Book. M. always avoids sh\ cf. Hesebon, 408, Sittim, 413, 
Beersaba (Beersheba), in. 536, Silo (Shilo), S. A. 1674 ( a * in Sandys, 


p. 201). It will generally be fotmd that he has the authority of either 
the Septuagint or Vulgate (or both) for his Scriptural proper names, 
where they differ in form from the Authorised Version. 

401 403. Solomon, persuaded by his wives (cf. 443 46), built 
"high places" to Moloch, Chemos and Astarte on the Mount of Olives 
(i Kings xi. 5 7) thence called the "mount of corruption " (2 Kings 
xxiii. 13), and later, the "mount of offence." These titles M. glances 
at here (403), and in 416, 443. 

401. by fraud, by deceit. 

402. his Umfle, i.e. of Moloch. 

404. The valley of Hinnom, lying S. and S.W. of Jerusalem, 
skirted the southern part of Olivet. Having been the scene of rites 
paid to Moloch, it was "defiled" (cf. 418) by Josiah (2 Kings xxiii. 10), 
and made the common refuse-place of Jerusalem. Previously it formed 
part of the royal gardens. Sandys says, " We descended into the valley 
of Gehinnon, which divideth the Mount Sion from the Mountaine of 
Offence.. .This valley is but streight (i.e. narrow) ; heretofore most de- 
lightful, planted with groves, and watered with fountains," Relation, 
p. 1 86. The grove of Hinnom is not directly mentioned in Scripture. 

405. Gehenna, hell ; the Greek form of Ge Hinnom, ' valley of 

406. "Moloch and Chemos ('the abomination of Moab') are 
joined, i Kings xi. 7. And it was a natural transition from the god of 
the Ammonites to the god of their neighbours the Moabites" (Newton). 
Chemos (really the same deity as Moloch) was often identified with 
Baal-Peor (412). 

obscene, foul ; referring to the character of the rites with which he 
was worshipped, dread, i.e. object of dread. 

407 ii. Roughly, all the places here mentioned (of which the 
sites are known) lay in the territory assigned (Numb, xxxii.) to the 
tribe of Reuben a region fringing the east shore of the Dead Sea, 
bounded S. by the river Arnon, N. by Mt Nebo. It had belonged to 
the Moabites till it was won from them by the Amorites (Numb. xxi. 26). 

407. from Aroer to Nebo, i.e. trom S. to N. of the region. Aroer \ 
a small town on the bank of the Arnon ; ci. Tennyson, A Dream of 
Fair Women, "from Aroer on Arnon unto Minneth." Nebo, the 
mountain (forming part of the range of Abaritn) from whose summit, 
Pisgah, Moses saw the Promised Land (Deut. xxxii. 49, xxxiv. i). 

408. Hesebon, Heshbon, "the city of Sihon the king of the 
Amorites," Numb. xxi. 26. 

410. The germ of the line lies in Isaiah xvi. 8, "the vine of Sibmah" 
(and verse 9). "Several rock-cut wine-presses are to be seen here, 

NOTES. ' 385 

and these are probably the remains of the vineyard industry for 
which Sibmah was once so famous" (Murray's Palestine, p. 173); 
the "flowery dale" is now "quite barren and uncultivated." 

411. j/AZ/,mod.El-'Al, 'theHigh'j about \\ miles from Heshbon. 
the Asphaltic pool=\ht Dead Sea; cf. Blount, Glossographia, " Asphal- 
tick of or belonging to the Dead Sea, or Lake called Asphaltites"; and 
Sandys' Relation, p. 141, "that cursed lake Asphaltites; so named of 
the Bitumen which it vomiteth." The bitumen or "asphaltus" (729) 
floating on its surface is called "slime" in Gen. xi. 3, or 'Jews' Pitch.' 
See X. 298, 561, 562, notes. Compare the description of the Dead Sea 
in The Talisman, chapter I. 

412 14. Peor, Baal-Peor. Sittim; see Numb. xxv. ; it was situ- 
ated "in the plains of Moab." to do...rites=lpa. pt&iv, sacra facere 
('to sacrifice'}', cf. Comus, 535, "Doing abhorred rites to Hecate." 
cost them woe, i.e. the plague wherein died "twenty and four thousand." 

In Milton's list (Cambridge MSS.) of possible Scriptural subjects for 
his great ppem occurs the entry : " Moabitides Num. 25 " ; and later a 
second entry: "Moabitides or Phineas, " with a very brief outline of 
the treatment of the theme. 

415 1 8. He means that in later times, under Solomon, the rites 
( = "orgies") of Chemos were introduced at Jerusalem, of scandal, 
i.e. of 'offence' or 'stumbling.' homicide', he received human sacrifice 

415. orgies", cf. Jonson, Hymenai (footnote), "opyia with the 
Greeks value the same that ceremonies with the Latins ; and imply all 
sorts of rites." enlarged, carried still further. 

419 21. bordering, i.e. Palestine, on the north, the brook, the 
Besor, "the river of Egypt." These limits comprise Canaan. 

422. Baalim. The supreme male deity of the Phoenician and 
Canaanitish nations was the Sun-god, Baal : worshipped in different 
places under different aspects and titles e.g. Baal-Berith, Baal-Zebub, 
Baal-Peor. The collective name of all these manifestations of the god 
was 'Baalim' (plural). So 'Ashtanrth' (plural) was the collective name 
of the different manifestations of the Moon-goddess Ashtorcth (sing.), 
the supreme female deity of these nations, and counterpart of Baal. 

4 2 3 2 5- Imitated by Pope, The Rape of the Lock, I. 69, 70 : 
"For Spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease 

Assume what sexes and what shapes they please." 
Pope imitates Milton much often most wittily. 

See also vi. 35153. where M. says that spirits " limb themselves," 
as they like, and assume "colour, shape, or size," according to their 
pleasure. Sir Thomas Browne discusses curious beliefs concerning 
P. L. 2S 


"mutation of sexes," in Vulgar Errors, in. xvii. essence 
"liquid texture" of spirits, vi. 348. 

428. in what shape they choose. See 789, 790. Satan takes several 
"shapes" in P. L. : e.g. in iv. 402, 403, he is first a lion (an allusion to 
i Peter v. 8), then a tiger. In works on demonology popular in the 
1 7th century evil spirits often appear in the shape of wild animals ; see 
the "Digression of Spirits" in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, i. ii. i. 2. 
Thus in the Faust-buck (1587), chap, xxni., numerous spirits are intro- 
duced to Faustus, each in the form of some animal ; see Dr Ward's 
Faustus, p. 141. 

429. dilated, expanded, obscure, dark. M. invests the angels 
with a radiance which they can lay aside. 

433. Cf. "living Dread," S. A. 1673, "living God" in Scripture. 

434 36. bowing... bowed. Sarcastic play on words. 

The punctuation of the original editions makes bowed the main 
verb, and sunk a participle. 

436. before; implying 'under the onslaught of; as if they 
scarcely awaited it. 

438 41. Astoreth, or Astarte, identical with the Assyrian 
Istar and Greek Aphrodite, was symbolised in the religion of 
Phoenicians by the planet Venus or the Moon : in the latter case she 
was represented as horned like the crescent moon. Cf. Selden, de Dis 
Syriis Lunam autem se ostendit Astarte, cum f route corniculata fuerit 
conspicua (1629 ed., p. 246). So M. regards her here and in the Nat. 
Ode, 200, "mooned Ashtaroth, Heaven's queen" a title due to her as 
Moon-goddess ("the queen of heaven," Jeremiah vii. 18). Cf. 
"Assyrian queen" (i.e. Istar), Comus, 1002. The name is cognate 
with Sanskrit tara or stara, Lat. stella, E. star. 

Sidon was the oldest, and for a time the chief, city of Phoenicia. 

443 46. See 401403, note, and cf. P. R. II. 169 71. large; 
"God gave Solomon... largeness of heart," i Kings iv. 29. One of the 
entries in the list of subjects in the Cambridge MSS. is "Salomon 
Gynsecocratumenus or Idolomargus." 

446 52. " In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz 
mourn," Nat. Ode, 204. According to the legend, Thammuz, son of 
Cyneras, King of Byblus in Phoenicia, was slain by a boar in Lebanon ; 
but every year his blood flowed afresh, and he came to life again there 
being annual festivals in his honour at Byblus and elsewhere, first to 
lament his death, then to celebrate his revival. Thammuz, 'sun of 
life,' is the Greek Adonis (the god of the solar year), and the story sym- 
bolises the alternation of summer and winter. The notion of his blood 
flowing again was due to the reddening of the waters of the river Adonis 

NOTES. 387 

through the peculiar red mud brought down by spring torrents from the 
Lebanon heights. M. alludes to the story in ix. 440, Mansus, n, and 
Eikonoklastes, i (" let them who now mourn for him as for Thammuz, 
them who howl in their pulpits" where "him" refers to Charles I.). 
The story is given at some length in Sandys' Relation, p. 209. 

450, 451. smooth, smooth-flowing. Smooth was used similarly of 
the river Mincius in Lycidas, 86, but amplified to smooth- sliding, 
native, i.e. from the river's source, ran purple, i.e. with reddened waters. 

454 57. Ezekiel viii. 14. Probably the Jews owed this worship 
to their intercourse with the Phoenicians. 

457 62. " Behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground 
before the ark of the Lord ; and the head of Dagon and both the palms 
of his hands were cut off upon the threshold," i Sam. v. 4. Dagon, the 
national god of the Philistines. See Samson Agonistes, passim, and 
cf. an entry in the Cambridge MSS.: " Dagonalia. Jud. 16 "; the refer- 
ence being to Judges xvi. 23 30 (the events dramatised in S. A.). His 
worship seems to have been introduced from Babylonia, since cuneiform 
Assyrian inscriptions mention a god Dakan or Dagan, probably iden- 
tical with Dagon. The name has also been derived (i) from Heb. 
Dag, 'a fish,' (2) from the Heb. word for 'corn,' Dagon being the god 
also of agriculture. 

458. in earnest, with better reason than the mourners just men- 
tioned, captive ark ; see i Sam. v. 2. 

460. griinsel, threshold. 

463. downward fish ; a symbol that he was a "sea-idol" (S. A. 13), 
the Philistines themselves being a race who had come into Canaan 
over the sea (from Crete), and dwelt along the sea-coast. Cf. i Sam. 
v. 4, margin. Probably M. connected the name with Dag, *a fish.' 

464 66. He mentions the five chief cities of the Philistines, Ash- 
dod and Gaza (cf. S. A., passim) being the principal seats of the worship 
of Dagon. Azottis, the Greek form of Ashdod (Acts viii. 40) ; used in the 
Vulgate; Selden, de Dis Syriis (p. 262), says, In Azoto sive Asdodo... 
fanum celebre erat Dagonis. Ascalon Askelon ; so the Septuagint 
and Vulgate. Aharon = ~Eknon } as in the Vulgate, which also has 
Accaronitce the people of Ekron. These must have been current forms 
in the i;th century : cf. Sandys' Relation, p. 153, " Ten miles North of 
Ascalon along the shore stands Azotus : and eight miles beyond that 
Acharon, now places of no reckoning." Cf. also Scot, Discoverie, 1584, 
" Belzebub the god of Acharon" (vil. xiii.), and Heywood's Hierarchic, 
"Baalzebub, of the Accarronites," p. 40. Gaza, the modern Guzzeh; 
on the borders of the desert that separates Palestine from Egypt : hence 
"frontier bounds." 



46769. Rimmon, the Syrian deity of Damascus (2, Kings v. 18), 
which lay between the rivers Abana and Pharpar (2 Kings v. 12). 

M. rightly stresses the name Abbana. 

47 ,_ 7 6. a leper, Naaman (2 Kings v.). For the Syrian altar of 
Ahaz, see 2 Kings xvi. sottish, foolish. 

47682. Cf. the Nativity Ode, 21115. The religion of the 
Egyptians consisted in a pantheistic worship of nature that took 
animals for its symbols. Thus Osiris, their chief god, was worshipped 
under the symbol of a sacred bull, Apis ; cf. the Essay on Man, I. 64, 
"the dull ox. ..Is now a victim, and now Egypt's god." Of Isis, 
'goddess of the earth,' Herodotus says, "the statue of this goddess 
has the form of a woman but with horns like a cow " (Rawlinson, n. 73). 
Anubis again was represented with a jackal's head, which the Greeks 
and Romans changed to that of a dog (cf. Plato, Gorg. 482 B and Vergil 
Mn. viil. 698, latrator Anubis}. Orus (or fforus), 'path of the sun,' 
was their Sun-god. 

Milton seems to be fond of referring to Egyptian mythology, drawing 
mainly, it is said, on Plutarch's treatise of Isis and Osiris. Thus he 
introduces the story of Isis and Osiris in his beautiful allegory of the 
dismemberment of Truth (Areopagitica) ; cf. also the bitter gibe at 
Charles I.'s death-scene in Eikonoklastes, i ("that I should dare to tell 
abroad the secrets of their Egyptian Apis"), P. IV. I. 328. See also 
his De Idea Platonica, 2934. 

477. crew, a depreciatory word in Milton (except in L Allegro, 
38), being used often of Satan and his followers; cf. 51, 751. 
479. abused, deceived, deluded ; cf. Fr. abuser. 
48284. The worship by Israelites of the golden calf in the 
wilderness (Exod. xxxii.) is traced to the Egyptian cult of Apis. 
borrowed, i.e. from the Egyptians, whom they "spoiled," Exod. xii. 

48486. rebel king, Jeroboam, a rebel against Rehoboam (who 
succeeded Solomon) ; he " doubled " the sin because he " made two 
calves of gold," setting one in Bethel, the other in Dan (i Kings xii. 20, 
28, 29). With 486 cf. Psalm cvi. 20. 

^ 48789. Referring to the tenth plague, Exod. xii. See xn. 189, 
190. he passed, i.e. Israel. 

489. ' ' The Lord smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt. . .and 
all the first-born of cattle," Exod. xii. 29. bleating; their deity Ammon 
was worshipped under the form of a ram. 

490. Strictly, Belial was not the name of any god, but an abstract 
word meaning 'that which is without profit ' = worthlessness, wicked- 
ness : hence generally found in phrases like 'son (or man) of Belial' 

NOTES. 389 

(501, 502). Cf. Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel, 597, 598 : 
" During his office treason was no crime, 

The sons of Belial had a glorious time." 

It has been treated so in the Bible sometimes, but more often 
incorrectly as a proper name. M. makes Belial a type of effeminacy 
and lust (cf. P. R. II. 150), and rightly does not limit his worship to any 
particular place although, to gratify his own hostility to the Church 
(49396) and the court (497), he cannot refrain from indicating his 
opinion as to where Belial is most prevalent. Cf. P. R. n., where 
Satan, speaking to Belial, says (182, 183) : 

" Have we not seen, or by relation heard, 
In courts and regal chambers how thou lurk'st?" 

last; because "timorous and slothful " (n. 117). 

495. See i Samuel ii. 12 17. 

497. Charles II. was then on the throne. The Licenser might 
have been expected to raise objections to the line. 

49 8 5I2- Macaulay suggested that M. had in mind "those pests 
of London," the street bullies, known at different times under various 
slang names, e.g. "Hectors," "Mohawks," "who infested London by 
night, attacking foot-passengers and beating the watch " (Mark Patti- 
son, note on Pope's Satires, I. 71). 

502. flown, flushed ; the combination of the abstract word, " inso- 
lence," with the literal "wine," suggests the figure called zeugma. 

503 505. Gen. xix., Judg. xix. The First Ed. had : 

"when hospitable Dores 
Yielded thir Matrons to prevent worse rape." 

503. witness, i.e. let the streets bear witness, be a proof. 

506. prime, first, foremost. 

507. were long to tell. Cf. x. 469, xu. 261; an imitation of the 
Latin; cf. Lucretius, IV. 1170, cetera de genere hoc longum est, si dicere 
coner. Spenser has it in The Faerie Quecne, n. 7. 14, and Drayton, 
Polyolbion, xv. (Keightley). were; the subjunctive, rare now, but 
common in Elizabethan English (Abbott). 

508. 509. i.e. held (= considered) by Javan's descendants (the 
Greeks) to be gods, confessed later, admitted to be of later origin ; 
see Deuteronomy xxxii. 17. 

Javan, the son of Japhet ; see Genesis x. 2. He stands for the 
Greek race ; the name being the same word as "lav (older form 'Iduv), 
whence lonians, the section of the Greeks with whom the Hebrews 
were best acquainted through Phoenician trade. Cf. "isles of Javan" 
= isles of Greece, S. A. 715, 716; see Isaiah Ixvi. 19. See iv. 717, 


509. Heaven and Earth, i.e. Uranus and Ge (or Gaia), whose 12 
sons, according to the ordinary mythology, were called Titans (see 198, 
note). One of them, Cronos ( = Saturn in Roman mythology), deposed 
his eldest brother (cf. 511, 512), and afterwards was himself expelled 
by his own son Zeus=Jove, whose mother was Rhea (cf. 512 14). 
In 510 M. uses Titan as a name for the eldest ("first-born") of the 12 

511. enormous, monstrous. 

514, 515. Ida, the mountain in Crete where Jove was born. In 
II Penseroso, 29, M. associates "Ida's inmost grove" with Saturn. 

515, 516. Olympus, a mountain range between Thessaly and Mace- 
donia; early Greek poets speak of it, literally, as being the abode of 
Zeus and the other deities; so Milton here and in vn. 7, x. 583, 584 
(note), snowy; "its chief summit is covered with perpetual snow" 
(Class. Diet.]: hence Homer's epithet vi06as. 

the middle air; an old theory of physics divided the air into three 
regions (aeris trina spatia, according to the Adamus Exul of Grotius), 
and M. refers to this view and means the middle region of the three. 
See Appendix, pp. 674 76. 

517. Delphian cliff; the seat of the famous oracle of Apollo; on 
the southern slope of Mt Parnassus. Keightley quotes from Sophocles, 
QLdipus Rex 463, AeX0i$ Trtrpa ; cf. " steep of Delphos " (with the same 
reference to Apollo), in the Nat. Ode, 1 78, and Gray's Progress of 'Poesy, 66. 

518. Dodona, in Epirus. There was an oracle of Zeus here. 
519,520. Doric land, Greece. According to the common tradition, 

Saturn came alone to Italy (" the Hesperian fields"). 

521. the Celtic, i.e. "fields" cf. Comus, 60, "Roving the Celtic 
and Iberian fields"; or he may be imitating Greek i] KeXriK?; (i.e. 
Xwpa or 777, * country ') : in either case he means France perhaps too 
Spain, utmost isles, e.g. Britain (cf. Vergil, Eel. I. 67, penitus toto 
divisos orbe Britannos) and ' ultima Thule.' 

523. damp, depressed ; cf. xr. 293. 

528. recollecting, re-collecting, getting back again ; cf. x. 471. 

532. "A clarion is a small shrill treble trumpet" (Hume). 

534. Azazel, from Leviticus xvi. 8, where the A.V. has "the scape- 
goat," while the margin has "Azazel," which the R.V. adopts. That 
the word was the title of some evil demon is now generally held ; and I 
suspect that in making him one of the fallen angels M. simply 
followed some tradition of the mediaeval demonologists. 

536. advanced, uplifted ; cf. V. 588. It was the term for raising a 
standard ; cf. Romeo and Juliet, V. 3. 96, "And death's pale flag is 
not advanced there." 

NOTES. 391 

538. emblazed emblazoned : a term from heraldry. Cf. v. 592. 
and 2 Henry VI. iv. 10. 76. The banner had rich devices portrayed 
on it. 

540. metal blowing ; an absolute construction. The music changes 
(cf. 551) when their spirits have been duly raised by the trumpet-notes. 

542. Heirs concave, the vaulted roof of Hell; cf. n. 635. 

543. reign, realm ; so "regency," v. 748. See u. 89496 (note), 

546. orient, lustrous, bright. 

547, 548. helms, helmets, serried, locked together, Fr. serrL 

54 9 62. Cf. vi. 63 68. Here M. is thinking of the description in 
Thucydides (v. 70) of the Spartans advancing at the battle of Mantinea 
virb avXyruv TroAAwi/, "to the strains of many flute-players" (Keightley). 

55> 55 1 Tne " Dorian" is one of the 'authentic' modes in music ; 
Plato calls it "the true Hellenic mode," and "the strain of courage," 
avdpeia, in contrast to the effeminate "Lydian" mode (see U Allegro, 
136, note). It inspires "a moderate and settled temper in the listener," 
says Aristotle (Pol. viil. 5). In the Areopagitica M. speaks of music 
which is "grave and Doric," P. W. n. 73. Many old German chorales 
are written in this mode (Grove). In On Education M. dwells on the 
influence of music upon character, in a passage closely parallel to this 
(P. W. m. 476). The lines seem an expression of his own devotion to 
the same art and inspiration. 

to, to the sound of, Gk. vir6 ; cf. 561. 

mood mode, recorders, flutes. 

556. swage, assuage; lit. 'to make sweet,' Lat. sttavis. 

561. in silence ; cf. VI. 64. 

562. the burnt soil; see 228, 229. 

563. horrid', probably in the lit. sense 'bristling' (Lat. horridus], 
i.e. with spears etc. ; cf. u. 513 and vi. 82. 

567, 568. files, ranks; cf. vi. 339. traverse, across. 

573. i.e. since the creation of man,,/0.rf hominem creatum : a Latin- 
ism often used by M. with after; cf. Comus, 48, "After the Tuscan 
mariners transformed." 

574. embodied, assembled, brought together. 

574> 575- i-e. any other army, compared with this host of angels, 
would be as absurdly inferior as an army of pygmies. 

that small infantry, i.e. the Pygmies (cf. 780), the fabulous little 
folk, of the height of a vvyfufj (13^ inches), whom Homer mentions, 
//. III. 5. Sir Thomas Browne, not quite certain whether to believe in 
them, is sure of one thing that "if any such nation there were, yet it is 
ridiculous what men have delivered of them ; that they fight with cranes 


upon the backs of rams or partridges " ( Vulgar Errors, IV. xi. ). Addison 
was " afraid " that M. meant a pun on " small infantry" 

576 87. Expanding the idea in 573 75, he takes the great cycles 
of heroic story Greek (576 79), British (579 81), mediaeval, whether 
French or Italian (582 87) and says that all the warriors and armies 
severally associated with these stories could bear no comparison with 
Satan's followers. 

577. Phlegra, "the old name of the peninsula of Pallene in Macedonia, 
\vhere (according to ancient legend) the Giants were born, and where 
they were vanquished by the Gods. Cf. the Inferno, xiv. 58. 

578, 579- Greek legend, as embodied in epic or tragic verse, 
centres mainly round Thebes, Troy (Ilium), and Mycenae (the city of 
the Pelopidae). Thus in his first Elegy (45, 46) M. epitomises the chief 
themes of Greek tragedy sett mceret Pdopeia domus, sen nobilis 111, \ 
aut luit incestos aula Creontis avos (Creon was king of Thebes). Here 
he mentions only two of the cycles. By the "heroic race" that fought 
at Thebes he means (i) Polynices and his six companions whose exploit 
is told in ^Eschylus's play, Scptem contra Thebas', (2) their descendants, 
the Epigoni, who ten years later destroyed Thebes. The heroes of 
the story of Ilium are those whom the Iliad presents to us. There 
"auxiliar gods" take part, some helping the Trojans, some the Greeks. 

579 81. Cf. Milton's own account of his youthful studies: "hear 
me out now, readers, that I may tell ye whither my younger feet 
wandered ; I betook me among those lofty fables and romances, which 
recount in solemn cantos the deeds of knighthood," An Apology for Smec- 
tymnuus (P. W. in. 118). The interest of this reference to the legend 
of King Arthur is explained in the Introduction. M. discusses the story 
at some length in his History of Britain, and evidently had studied it 
closely. It had appealed to Dante. These lines are the reference 
in the Introduction to Marmion, where Scott is speaking of King 
Arthur : 

" The mightiest chiefs of British song 
Scorn'd not such legends to prolong: 
They gleam through Spenser's elfin dream, 
And mix in Milton's heavenly theme." 

580. in fable; an allusion, suggests Keightley, in particular to 
Geoffrey of Monmouth, who gives one of our earliest versions (1140) 
of the Arthurian legend. No doubt M. is thinking of Geoffrey whom 
he used extensively in his History; but there he often refers also to 
the Breton monk Nennius and to Gildas, yet earlier authorities than 
Geoffrey likewise to William of Malmesbury. "Fable" is his 
favourite term in the History for these old Chronicles. 



romance^, e.g. Malory's Morte Darthur, published by Caxton, 1485 
(the basis of Tennyson's Idylls of the King). 

Other's son, King Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon ; cf. Tennyson, 
Palace of Arty "mythic Uther's deeply-wounded son." In the Epi- 
taphium Damonis, 166 68, M. glances at the story of Arthur's birth. 

581. The division of Arthur's "fabulous paladins" (as Drummond 
calls them, Forth Feasting, 1617) into "British and Armoric" coincides 
with P. R. II. 360, "By Knights of Logres or of Lyones " : where Logres 
= Britain, more strictly England east of the river Severn ; and Lyones = 
Brittany (according to one theory), whence came Sir Tristram. Brittany 
"was first called Armorica from its situation on the Sea, as the word 
importeth in the old language of that people" (Heylyn, i. 167). 
Brittany is closely connected with the Arthurian legend. 

begirt with, surrounded by. Cf. Gray, The Bard, in. 

582 87. The names are associated with romances (mainly Italian) 
in prose or verse ; see Appendix, pp. 676 80. jousted, tilted. 

86. his peerage, the "douze pairs" (i.e. peers) or 12 "paladins" of 
France (P. R. III. 343) : the most famous being Roland, the Achilles 
or brave man, and Oliver, the Ulyssee or wise man, of the Old French 
epic poems and prose-romances which narrate the exploits of Charle- 
magne and his knights. fell', not literally true of Charlemagne himself; 
M. may use it as a strong word = ' was utterly vanquished.' 

587. Fontarabia, modern Fuenterrabia, a frontier fortress on the 
Bay of Biscay S. of Biarritz. Its position made it the scene of many 
encounters between the Spanish and the French. 

588. observed, obeyed. 

591. like a tower-, cf. Tennyson's Ode on the Duke of Wellington: 
" O falFn at length that tower of strength 

Which stood four-square to all the winds that blew ! " 
Vergil bids Dante not trouble about the surprise of the spirits in 
Purgatory at the sight of him : "Follow me and let the people talk; 
stand thou as a firm tower \sta come torre Jirmd\ which never shakes 
its summit for blast of winds" (Purgatorio, V. 13 15). 

592. her; he personifies "form." 

59 6 99- The lines to which the Licenser for the Press took 
exception when the MS. of the poem was submitted to him. It was 
indeed somewhat early after the Civil War and Restoration to speak of 
"change." The Licenser, as Chaplain of the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, might well have objected to Milton's attacks on the Church, 
e.g. in xn. 50737- Cf. iv. 193, note. 

597. eclipse; proverbially of evil omen, the precursor of trouble; 
see xi. 183, note, disastrous, boding disaster. 


60 r. intrenched, cut into; cf. O. Fr. trencher, 'to cut.' 
603. considerate, considering, full of thought. Cf. Areopagitica, 
" let us be more considerate builders, more wise," P. W. II. 93. 

605. remorse, pity. passion', in the general sense ' deep feeling.' 

606. fellows of, partners in. 

609. amerced of , deprived of, lit. 'fined with the loss of.' 

613 15. scathed^ damaged. Whether lightning can be said to 
"singe" the top of a tree seems doubtful, blasted heath ; see Macbeth, 
I ' 3- 77- blasted, withered by the lightning. 

619. thrice, a conventional number ; cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses XI. 
419, ter conata loqut, ter fietibus ora rigavit. assayed, tried. 

624. event, issue, result, Lat. eventus ; so often in Milton and 

632. Scan exile; cf. X. 484, Richard II . I. 3. 151. 

633. emptied Heaven ; a mere boast; see II. 692, note. 

634. self-raised', see II. 75 77. 

642. tempted... attempt. There are not a few of these jingling 
phrases in M. Cf. "beseeching or besieging," v. 869, "feats of war 
defeats," S. A. 1278. Generally he expresses sarcasm or contempt by 
them. The use of this figure of speech (paronomasia] is specially 
common in late Latin writers, see Mayor's note on Cicero's 2nd 
Philippic, xi. 13 and also in the Italian poets. Milton uses it in his 
Latin writings; cf. The Christian Doctrine, I. 2, " Natura natam se quid nisi ejfatum divinum omnipotentis cujuspiam 
numinis potest esse ? " Something similar is found in Hebrew. 

645. better part. Luke x, 43 ("Mary hath chosen that good 

650 54. See II. 345 53,830 35, and x. 481, 482. The first hint 
of the design against mankind comes from Satan (cf. II. 379 et seq.}, 
though Beelzebub afterwards developes it (ll. 345 78). fame, report. 

660. peace is despaired, i.e. pax desperalur ; cf. vi. 495. 

662. understood, i.e. among themselves, and so secret. 

668. Like Roman soldiers applauding an oration of their general, 
by smiting their shields with their swords (Bentley). 

674. "It was the common opinion of chemists that metals were 
composed of sulphur and quicksilver" (Keightley). 

675. brigad; so the original editions here and in n. 532. 

676. pioner ; an Elizabethan form of pioneer. 

678. cast, form by throwing up the earth. Mammon, like "Belial," 
is not really a proper name, but an abstract word = 'wealth.' 

679. erected, lofty, elevated ( = Lat. erectus}. 

682. " And the street of the city was pure gold," Rev. xxi. 21. 

NOTES. 395 

684. vision beatific = Visio Beatified, the phrase used by Schoolmen 
to express "seeing" God (Matthew v. 8). Cf. ''blessed vision," v. 613, 
"happy-making sight," Ode on Time, 18. See III. 61, 62, note. 

685. men also, i.e. as well as the fallen angels. 

686. the centre ; probably the centre of the earth ; or the earth 

688. Horace's atirum irrepertum et sic melius sitwn (Od. in. 

3- 49)- 

690. 'ribs, bars, large pieces, admire, wonder = Lat. admirari. 

692. precious bane', an oxymoron (see II. 252 57). 

694. Some interpret Babel Baby Ion; but why not the Tower of 
Babel (xn. 43 62) ? There is a reference to Babylon in 717. 

the works, i.e. the Pyramids ; cf. Ben Jonson's Masque, Prince 
Henry's \Barriers, "And did the barbarous Memphian heaps out- 
climb." Memphian, Egyptian ; as in 307. 

697. and in an hour, i.e. is performed (from 699). 

698, 609. Cf. Pliny, speaking of the Great Pyramid, "it is said (see 
Herodotus n. 124), that in the building of it there were 366,000 men 
kept at worke twentie yeares " (Holland's Pliny, 1601, II. 577). 

702. sluiced, led by sluices ; cf. Tennyson, Arabian Nights. 

703. founded, melted ; it seems impossible to follow the Second 
Ed., which reads found out. 

704. severing, separating, bullion-dross, the scum rising from the 
bullion, i.e. the liquefied mass of unpurified gold. See v. 439 43, note. 

708. M. would be likely to understand the mechanism of the 
organ, his favourite instrument ; cf. xi. 558 63. 

710 17. Cf. Pope (imitating the passage), The Temple of Fame, 91, 
**The growing towers, like exhalations, rise"; and Tennyson, (Enone : 
"Hear me, for I will speak and build up all 
My sorrow with my song, as yonder walls [i.e. of Troy] 
Rose slowly to a music slowly breathed, 
A cloud that gather'd shape." 

Peck noted that Milton's lines read like an account of some Jacobean 
Masque (iv. 768, note), describing one of those elaborate structures 
of stage-architecture designed by Inigo Jones and brought on the scene 
by means of machinery, to the accompaniment of music. For instance, 
in Jonson's Entertainment at Theobalds the main scene represented " a 
glorious place, figuring the seat of the household gods... erected with 
columns and architrave, frieze and cornice." See XI. 205, 206, note. 

It should be remembered too that the classical architecture of the 
Renaissance, familiar to Milton through his visit to Italy, had come 
into vogue in this country. 


712. symphonies, i.e. the harmonious strains of the instruments 
accompanying the voices ; see xi. 595, note. 

713 17. pilasters, square columns usually set within a wall and 
slightly projecting, architrave, the main or 'master' beam (apxr) + 
trabs] that rests immediately upon a row of pillars, the frieze coming 
just above, and the cornice projecting above the frieze. 

bossy sculptures, i.e. sculptures in relief. 

fretted gold, gold wrought with designs, patterns. 

718. Alcairo', he means Memphis, giving it the name of the later 
capital built (loth cent. A.D.) some few miles from the site of its prede- 
cessor. The form Alcairo (Arab. Al Kahirah, * the city of victory ') 
seems to have been current then ; compare Hexham's Mercator, 
" Memphis. called at this day (1636) Cairo or Alcairo" (il. 427). 

720. Belus. Cf. Sandys' Relation (p. 207), " Belus Priscus, 
reputed a God, and honored with Temples; called Bel by the Assyrians, 
and Baal by the Hebrewes." The famous temple of Bel at Babylon 
(Herodotus I. 181 83), attributed to Semiramis, is described by 
Raleigh, History, p. 183 (1621 ed.). 

Serapis', there was a temple to him at Memphis, but more celebrated 
was that at Alexandria, called the Serapeum, to which the great library 
was attached. Serapis was identical with the Greek Hades, whose 
worship was introduced into Egypt by Ptolemy I., some of the 
attributes of Osiris being transferred to him. Serapis and Serapis are 
found ; the latter is more correct. 

723, 724. stood fixed, i.e. was now complete (Lat. stabat), having 
reached its appointed height, discover, reveal ; F. dccouvrir. 

725. Thyer quotes ampla spatia from Seneca's Hercules Furens in. 

727. pendent by subtle magic. " I always like this, it is mystical " 
Tennyson. (In Tennyson's Life by his son there is an Appendix, 
entitled " My Father's talk on Milton's Paradise Lost " ; it is the source 
of these criticisms by Tennyson, often conversational in form.) 

728. cresset, a kind of hanging lamp. 

729. naphtha and asphaltus', the former the liquid (for the lamps), 
the latter the solid substance (for the cressets). 

732. the architect. Masson thinks that Mammon is intended, M. 
identifying him with Mulciber (or Vulcan). But M. only says that 
Mammon discovered the gold out of which the fabric was made, and 
leaves us, I think, to infer from what follows that the architect was 
Vulcan or Mulciber in classical mythology the god of fire and all 
metal-work, and architect of the palaces of the gods (cf. 732 35). He 
was too famous to need mentioning by name. 

733. towered structure high. The order of the words a noun 

NOTES. 397 

placed between two qualifying words is a favourite with M. The 
idiom is Greek; in his note on Lycidas, 6, Mr Jerram quotes Hesiod, 
Theogony, 8n, 812, xd\/ceos oi)56s d(rre/-i0?7S, and Euripides, Phosnissa 
234, vi<f>6po\oi> opos ip6v. Gray probably borrowed the device from 
Milton; cf. his Elegy ', 53, "Full many a gem of purest ray serene." 
See II. 615, 616, v. 5 (note). 

736. gave to rule. A Lat. idiom ; cf. sEneid, I. 65, 66, tibi divum 
pater.., mulcere deditflectus. So in III. 243, xi. 339. 

737. M. alludes to a mediaeval belief that the Heavenly beings 
were divided into Hierarchies and Orders ; see Appendix, pp. 680 82. 

73 8 > 739- his name... in... Greece. Hephaestus was " the god of fire 
as used in art, and master of all the arts which need the aid of fire, 
especially of working in metal." All the palaces in Olympus (the 
heaven of the classical gods) were built by Hephaestus. 

Ausonian land, Italy, so called poetically from the Ausones, an 
ancient Latin race who dwelt on the west coast of Italy before its 
conquest by the Romans. 

740. Mulciber, ' the softener, welder ' (i.e. of metal), from Lat. 
mukere, 'to soften.' 

740 46. Partly a translation of Iliad I. 591 et seq., where Hephaes- 
tus describes his fall. Cf. two allusions in Milton's Lat. poems : sic 
dolet amis sum proles Junonia calum, | inter Le??iniacos prcecipitata focos 
(Elegy, VII. 81, 82) ; and qualis in ALgeam proles Junonia Lemnon | 
detttrbata sacro cecidit de limine cali (Naturam Non Pati Senium, 23). 

741. angry ; because in a dispute between Jove and Juno, Vulcan 
took the part of Juno, his mother. 

742 44. "We fall not from Virtue, like Vulcan from heaven, in 
a day," says Sir Thomas Browne, Christian Morals, i. 30. 

746. Lemnos, sacred to Hephaestus, "the Lemnian God" (Spenser, 
Muiopotmos} ; probably because it was volcanic. I think that we 
should scan : 

"On Lem|nos, th' ^igj'an isle|. Thus they | relate." 

750. engines, contrivances. 

752. harald, herald. 

756. Pandemonium, 'the home of all the demons'; cf. x. 424. 
The word seems to have been coined by Milton (from Gk. TTQ.V, 'all' 
+ Sal/Aw, ' a demon '). Some prefer the form ' Pandemonium.' Milton's 
picture, in itself, does not seem to me to owe anything to Dante's 
description of the City of Dis ( = Lucifer or Satan) in cantos vin., ix., 
of the Inferno ; apart, possibly, from the suggestion of the idea. 

7 58. squared regiment = ' ' perfect phalanx," 5 50. 

763 66. "He alludes to those accounts of the single combats 


between the Saracens ('Panim chivalry') and Christians (cf. 582) in 
Spain and Palestine, of which the old romances are full " (Callander) : 
using, as in S. A. in the dispute between Samson and Harapha, the 
technical terms of the mediaeval duello. For a good description of such 
scenes cf. The Faerie Queene, IV. 3. 4 et seq. 

763. Possibly "covered field" = Fr. champ clos, the space for 
combat, enclosed with barriers or 'lists'; cf. S. A. 1087, "listed field." 
champions ; the technical word for combatants campiones qui in 
campum descendant et dtiello seu monomachia decertant (Ducange). 

764. wont, were wont. Soldan, the Sultan. 

765. 766. Panim, pagan. He mentions the two kinds of combat 
(i) that fought out "to the utterance " (Macbeth, in. i. 72), i.e. till one 
of the fighters was killed: cf. "mortal duel," S. A. 1102; (2) that 
which was merely an exhibition of skill, spears and swords with 
blunted points being used, career, a short gallop at high speed. 

767. . Cf. II. 528. 

76875. as bees. The simile had been used by Homer, Iliad 
II. 87 et seq., and Vergil, sEneid I. 430 36, VI. 707 709. 

The prevalence of s is meant to suggest the scene ' sound 
echoing sense ' ; so that one is tempted to print with the original 
editions 'rustling.' In King Lear, II. 4. 304, the Quartos have russel 
{rustle), for the less obvious ruffle (Folio). 

769. Taurus, one of the signs of the Zodiac ; strictly, the time of 
year defined is April 19 May 20. Cf. x. 671 73. 

with; not 'in company with,' since Taurus is a fixed constellation, 
but 'in the neighbourhood of (Beeching). 

774. expatiate=. Lat. spatior, walk abroad ' ; cf Blount, " Expatiate 
to wander, to stray, to spread abroad." confer, confer of, discuss. 

776. straitened, crowded, pressed together. 

777 80. Spirits, we have seen (428), can contract themselves. 

A passage like this brings before us one of the great difficulties 
inherent in the design of Paradise Lost, namely the representation of 
the angels, good and evil. Milton (says Johnson) "saw that immateriality 
supplied no images, and that he could not show angels acting but by 
instruments of action [i.e. bodies] ; he therefore invested them with 
form and matter" notably in his account (bk. vi.) of the battle in 
Heaven. Yet sometimes they are viewed as "incorporeal Spirits" 
(789), and it is seemingly as a spirit that Satan enters the form of 
the toad (iv. 800), and of the Serpent (ix. 85, 86, 187 90). There 
is in fact some inconsistency: "his infernal and celestial powers are 
sometimes pure spirit, and sometimes animated body" (Johnson). The 
difficulty is really insuperable, but Milton purposely modifies its effect, 

NOTES. 399 

particularly in the case of the evil angels, by several passages ; see the 
notes on i. 42329, v. 478, vi. 327. As regards the good angels, 
I suppose he would have argued that divine beings had the power to 
assume corporeal forms and to resume their incorporeal being; whereas 
the evil angels, through sin, gradually lost their immateriality and were 
forced "to incarnate and imbrute" (ix. 166). 

780, 781. Pliny (Nat. History, vn. u. 26) placed the dwelling 
of the Pygmies (575) "beyond the source of the Ganges even in the 
edge and skirts of the mountains." So Batman vppon Bartholome 
(1582 ed., p. 377), "Pigmei be little men of a cubite long... and they 
dwell in mountaines of Inde." 

that, the well-known, whose name needs no mention. 

781. beyond the Indian mottnt; probably he means Imaus (cf. III. 
431), in classical writers (e.g. Pliny) the western chain of the Himalayas, 
i.e. between the Ganges and the Caspian. It should be noticed 
that extra Imaum (i.e. east of or "beyond") and intra Imaum 
(i.e. west of) were phrases employed by map-makers of the i7th 
century to describe (with convenient vagueness) regions of Central 
Asia. Thus in Mercator's map of Tartary we have Scythia extra and 
Scythia intra Imaum montem. Milton's readers might be reminded 
of this common distinction. 

78185. A reminiscence of A Midsummer-Nigh? s Dream, II. i. 28, 
29, 141 (a play constantly imitated by Milton). Cf. too, T/ie Rape of 
the Lock, 31, "Of airy Elves by moonlight shadows seen." Commonly 
"fairies" and "elves" (more rustic in character) are distinguished. 

sees, or dreams he sees-, from Vergil's aut videt aut vidisse putat per 
nubila lunam ^Eneid vi. 454. 

785, 786. arbitress, witness'; cf. Horace's non infideles arbitra \ 
Nox et Diana Epod. v. 50, 51. She comes " nearer to the Earth" 
because influenced (n. 665, 666) by the fairies, pale, with alarm. 

790, 791. i.e. they had so contracted their forms that, though 
numberless, they had plenty of room to move about (Richardson). 

795. recess, retirement. His application of the ecclesiastical word 
"conclave" to the assembly of evil angels seems sarcastic: that being 
the term specially applied to "the Meeting or Assembly of the 
Cardinals for the Election [of the Pope], or for any important affair 
of the Church" (Blount). Cf. his contemptuous reference in Of 
Reformation in England, i, to the "councils (i.e. of the Church) and 
conclaves that demolish one another " (P. W. n. 389), and the similar 
;e of "consistory," P. R. L 42 . See x. 313, note. Strictly "con- 
:lave, like Lat. conclave, meant the room in which a meeting took 
place : then the meeting itself. 


797. frequent= Lat. frequens, 'crowded, numerous.' 
797, 798. after... summons read. Cf. 573 and Tennyson, Pelleas 
and Ettarre, "after trumpet blown." consult, consultation; commonly 
the result of a consultation, i.e. a decision, decree = Lat. consultutn. 


1. There is a counterpart to this Council in Paradise Regained, II. 
"5 2 35- The picture of the debate may reflect Milton's recollections 
of the meetings of the Council of State to which he was Latin Secretary. 

high on a throne. Cf. v. 756. The mock-heroic opening of the 
second book of The Dunciad is modelled on this passage. 

2. Ormus ; the ancient Armuza, a town situate on an island near 
the mouth of the Persian Gulf; called Armous in Webb's Travels (1590) 
see Arber's ed., p. 23. It was much celebrated as a mart for pearls 
and jewels; cf. Howell's Familiar Letters, " Ormus... the greatest 
Mart in all the Orient for all sorts of jewels" (Jacobs' ed. 1892, i. 157), 
and Marvell, Song of the Emigrants, "Jewels more rich than Ormus 
shows." The Elizabethan traveller Coryat (1611) compares it with 
Venice, "of which the inhabitants may as proudly vaunt as I have 
read the Persians have done of their Ormus, who say that if the 
world were a ring, then should Ormus be the gem thereof. " Hexham 
(1636) calls it Ormus Emporium, and Heylyn says, '* in regard of the 
situation, it was one of the richest Empories in all the world ; the wealth 
of Persia and East-India being brought hither" (Cosmography, 1682 ed., 
III. 143). Tasso mentions it (Fairfax, xvn. -25). 

2 4. Cf. Love's Labours Lost, iv. 3. 222, 223 : 

"like a rude and savage man of Ind, 
At the first opening of the gorgeous east" 

Wordsworth borrowed the phrase in his Sonnet On the Extinction of 
the Venetian Republic; cf. the first line, "Once did She hold the 
gorgeous East in fee." The form Ind (or Inde} is common in poets 
cf. Comus, 606. The first settlements of the East India Company dated 
from about 1653, and English people were beginning to hear more 
concerning the wealth of India (cf. 638). 

or -where, i.e. of the places where. " It was the eastern cere- 
mony, at the coronation of their kings, to powder them with gold- 
dust and seed-pearl " (Warburton) ; also to strew pearls and jewels at 
the monarch's feet. Shakespeare knew of the custom (cf. Antony and 
Cleopatra, n. 5. 45, 46), which some traveller must have related. At 
the end of his History of Moscovia M. gives a list of authorities, mainly 

NOTES. 401 

' Voyages ' and ' Travels ' (e.g. Hakluyt and Purchas) ; and passages like 
this and in. 437 39 show how he used such sources of information. 

4. Cf. Pope, Temple of Fame, 94, " With diamond flaming 
and barbaric gold." Bar baric us is an epithet of aurum in &neid 
II. 504. 

5. merit, i.e. of daring most against the Almighty (Cowper). 
9. success, ill-fortune. 

12 17. He calls them "Deities of Heaven" because he still 
regards Heaven as theirs. Exactly similar parentheses are v. 361, 362 
(note), and X. 460 62. In each case the clause introduced by for 
explains some particular word or phrase in the previous sentence. 

14. i.e. I do not consider Heaven lost. Cf. S. A. 1697, " So 
Virtue, given for lost," and George Herbert, Church Porch, " Who 
say, I care not,' those I give for lost." See too The Winter's Tale, 
in. 2. 96. 

17. i.e. have such trust in themselves as not to fear. 

20. Cf. I. 635 37. counsel', some needlessly change to council. 

23. unenvied, not to be envied, unenvia/<?. 

28. the Thunderer, the Almighty ; an obviously fitting title here ; 
see I. 93, 174 77, 258. Cf. Tonans applied to Jupiter. 

42. we now debate. The Councils of Diabolus and his followers 
(Lucifer, Beelzebub, Belial and other outcast spirits) in Bunyan's Holy 
War (1682) may well have owed something to the model furnished by 

44. fiercest. See I. 392. Moloch ("furious king," vi. 357) is con- 
spicuous in the great battle in Heaven. Newton reminds us of Homer's 
phrase a/c^Trrouxos /8a<rtXei/s (Iliad I. 279). 

50. thereafter \ * accordingly ' (i.e. as not fearing God), or 'there- 

51. sentence, opinion, vote, Lat. sententia', cf. 291. 

52. more unexpert, less experienced in them than in war. 

59. i.e. the prison assigned by his tyranny. For Milton no word 
has worse associations than ' tyranny ' ; cf. his treatises, A Defence of 
the People of England, xn., " the two greatest mischiefs of this life, and 
most pernicious to virtue, tyranny and superstition " ; and The Ready 
Way, "the most prevailing usurpers over mankind, superstition and 
tyranny" (P. W. I. 212, u. 113). See 25557, note > an d I. 124. 
There is a good deal about "tyrants" and "tyranny" in Milton's 
Common-place Book (see ix. 200, note), which reflects his and his age's 
deep interest in the question of forms of government. 

60 70. Contrast Belial's reply, 129 42. 

63. tortures^ the things that torture us. 

P, L, 26 


67. fire and horror ; cf. I. 502, note. equal, i.e. to his. 

69. Tartarean. Milton applies to this nether world terms 
drawn from the classics; see 506, 858, 883. Strictly, the practice 
involves some incongruity of effect ; cf. the mixture of classical and 
Scriptural allusions in Lycidas. No doubt, M. was influenced by the 
Renaissance fashion of identifying the Hell of Christian theology with 
that of classical writers. We find the same combination of pagan 
mythology and Hebrew story in the Italian poets, e.g. in the Paradiso, 
xn. 10 18, where the classical legend of Iris and the Biblical story 
of the rainbow are interwoven. 

73, 74. such, i.e. those who think the way difficult. Used as 
a noun drench ('that which drenches,' i.e. wets thoroughly) was, and 
is, commonly applied to a draught of physic for animals. Here there- 
fore it is a contemptuous word as in the Animadversions, 2, "to diet 
their ignorance, and want of care, with the limited draught of a matin 
and even-song drench," P. W. III. 57. Moloch's object is to rouse 
them to action by taunts, forgetful lake= " oblivious pool," i. -266. 

75 81. See I. 633, 634, and cf. the account of the expulsion of the 
angels from Heaven, vi. 856 77. Not being subject to the law of 
gravitation they did not fall, but were driven down by force. 

75. proper, natural = ~Lo\.. propritis, 'belonging to oneself.' 

77. tt/='that not'; usually in a negative clause; cf. The 
Tempest, i. 2. 209, "not a soul but felt a fever," i.e. that did not. So 
Richard III. I. 3. 186. (See Abbott, Shakesp. Gram. p. 84.) 

79. the deep, Chaos. 

82 84. The lines give a supposed objection from one of the 
audience, event, issue (i. 624). 

89. exercise, torment ; a Latinism. 

90 92. Thyer quotes The Teares of the Muses * 125, 126: 
"Ah, wretched world I 1 and all that is therein, 

The vassals of Gods wrath, and slaves of sin"; 

and A Midsummer-Nigh? s Dream, v. i. 37, "To ease the anguish of a 
torturing hour" The latter phrase is borrowed by Gray, Hymn to 
Adversity, 3. inexorably ; so the original editions ; he may have 
dictated inexorable. 

92. calls', singular because the two subjects really form a single 
idea ('punishment'); cf. I. 139. 

97. essential, essence, substance, viz. of their angelic forms. In 
M., as in Shakespeare, an adj. = a noun is very common (cf. 406, 409, 
438) : an illustration of Dr Abbott's remark that in Elizabethan E. 
"almost any part of speech can be used as any other part of speech." 

99, joo. Cf. 14654, and i. 117. 

NOTES. 403 

100, 101. at worst) i.e. we have already reached the worst point 
(cf. 162, 163), short of absolute annihilation. Satan argues somewhat 
similarly in Paradise Regained, ill. 204 u. To place at "worst 
between commas changes the sense. 

104. fatal, upheld by fate (i. 133), hence secure. 

109. Belial', see I. 490, note. In the systems of the demonologists 
Belial holds high rank; Heywood (Hierarchic, 1635, p. 436) makes 
him head of the fourth of the nine Orders into which the fallen angels 
were divided (corresponding with the nine Heavenly Orders). In 
assigning to Belial the two qualities of personal beauty and per- 
suasive speech M. has followed tradition. Cf. Scot's Discoverie of 
Witchcraft (1584), "This Beliall...taketh the form of a beautifull 
Angell, he speaketh faire" (xv. 2). htimane, polished, refined. 

113. manna, words sweet as manna, "the taste of [which] was 
like wafers made wiih'/iomy," Exod. xvi. 31. 

113, 114. Alluding, as Bentley noted, to the profession of the 
Sophists TOV TjTTb) \6yov KpeLrrfji Troieiv. The reproach was made 
against Socrates; cf. Plato, Apology 18 B, which probably alludes to the 
satirical lines referring to Socrates in Aristophanes' Clouds 112 15. 

Bacon says : " So likewise we see that Anytus, the accuser of Socrates, 
laid it as an article of charge and accusation against him, that he did... 
profess a dangerous and pernicious science, which was, to make the 
worse matter seem the better, and to suppress truth by force of eloquence 
and speech" (The Advancement of Learning, I. 2. i). Cf. Milton's 
Tetrachordon, " as was objected to Socrates by them who could not 
resist his efficacy, that he ever made the worst cause [i.e. \6yos] 
seem the better," P. W. in.. 320. dash, confound, cast down. 

117. timorous and slothful ; as might be inferred (i. 490 503). 

119. The first part of his speech answers Moloch point by point. 

124. in fact of arm s = Fr. en fait dtarmes, i.e. in deeds, exploits; 
f act = feat in sense as in etymology (LaA.. factum). 

127. scope, aim, mark; Gk. OTTOTTOS. 

129. " Note the great pauses in Belial's speech " (Tennyson). 

130. render; plural, because watch watchmen. 

132. Scan obscure (cf. Hamlet, IV. 5. 213), and see 210, note. 

139 42. mould, substance, i.e. of the angels, whom Moloch ' 
would assail with Hell-fire. Spiritual frames, M. has said (i. 117), 
are formed of an "empyreal substance," i.e. of pure fire; cf. Psalm 
civ. 4, " Who maketh his angels spirits ; his ministers a flaming fire." 
And this fire, argues Belial here and in 215, 216, will, through its 
greater purity, prevail over (i.e. be insensible to) the " baser " fire 
of Hell. 

26 2 


143. flat, absolute, complete. Cf. King John, m. i. 298. 

146. Gray's editors trace to these lines the stanza (Elegy, 85 88) : 
"For who to dumb Forgetfulness a prey 
This pleasing anxious being e'er resigned ? " etc. 

148. Cf. Wordsworth's lines on the statue of Newton at Trinity 
College (The Prelude, bk. in.). 

151. motion', probably from Measure for Measure, III. i. 120 
Todd). See 180, note. 

155 59. This thought that the evil angels must live, so that they 
may suffer the more, is not peculiar to M. Thus Grotius (Adaimis 
Exul) makes Satan say, mors tma... \ mihi siimma voti est; nee, quod 
extremum est mails, \ licet perire ; and Sir Thomas Browne, Religio 
Medici, I. li., has, "the devil, were it in his power, would do the like 
[viz. destroy himself] ; which being impossible, his miseries are endless, 
and he suffers most in that attribute... his immortality." He has the 
same thought in his Christian Morals, n. xiii. (end). 

156. Ironical, belike, perhaps, no doubt ; only here in M., but 
many times in Shakespeare; cf. Hamlet, in. 2. 305. impotence, lack 
of self-restraint ( = Lat. impotentid). 

159. cease, i.e. from war : ' why give up the struggle ? ' 

160. they who, Moloch: a courteously indirect reference, consonant 
with Belial's " humane " character. 

162, 163. A very similar passage is P. R. in. 203 n. 

165. what when, i.e. how was it when what was our state? 
Many texts print a note of exclamation (not in the original editions) 
after what, making the sentence an anacoluthon. Rhetorical questions 
are a favourite literary device, amain, with all speed, strook ; Milton's 
preference for this form to struck is marked (Masson). 

1 66. afflicting; perhaps in the lit. sense of affligere; cf. I. 186. 
168, 169. See i. 50 53, 311 13. chained', see I. 48. 

170. Isaiah xxx. 33. 

1 74. redright hand= rubens dextera of Jupiter (Horace, Od. 1. 2. 2, 3). 
I 75> *76. this firmament, i.e. of "the horrid roof" (644) of Hell 
to which he points, cataracts, floods, torrents; Gk. KarappaKT^, 'a 
waterfall.' See XI. 824, note. 

1 80 82. Editors compare sEneid VI. 75, rapidis ludibria ventis 
(" the sport of every wind," Dryden), and 740, 741. Probably M. had 
in his thoughts Measure for Measure, III. i. 124 26 : 
' ' To be imprison'd in the viewless winds, 
And blown with restless violence round about 
The pendent world" [cf. 1052]. 
182. racking ; Keight ley says, " sweeping, driving along. Clouds 

NOTES. 405 

thus driven are called the rack " (cf. " the racking clouds," 3 Henry VI. 
I. i. 27). But perhaps = 'torturing.' Cf. I. 126. 

184. converse, dwell with ; Lat. cum, ' with ' + versari, ' to dwell.' 

185. With M. (even in his prose, as Todd noted) and other poets 
a favourite arrangement of words, expressing emphasis ; cf. v. 899, 
S. A. 1422, P. R. ill. 429, Hamlet, I. 5. 77. Compare the repetition 
in the Greek dramatists of adjectives compounded with the negative 
prefix d- ( = Eng. un-} ; e.g. in Euripides, Hecuba 669, cforcus, avavdpos, 

^e(pdap/j.^vri ; and Sophocles, Antigone 1071, a^oipov, ct/cr^- 

a.v6(TlOV V^KVV. 

187. open or concealed. Seel. 661, 662. 

190, 191. "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord 
shall have them in derision," Psalm ii. 4. motions, proposals, schemes ; 
cf. the verb in ix. 229. 

194 96. A supposed objection ; cf. 82 84. 

199. to suffer.. Jo do. Editors quote: Et facer e et pati fortia 
Romanum est, Livy, II. 12: quidvis et facere et pati, Horace, Od. III. 
24. 43. Sir Thomas Browne says, "A man may confide in persons 
constituted for noble ends, who dare do and suffer" Christian Morals, 
I. 25. See i. 158, note. 

207. ignominy, a trisyllable (i. 115). The ist Folio prints ignomy 
in i Henry IV. v. 4. 100, "Thy ignomy sleep with thee in the grave." 

210. Scan supreme. This throwing back of the accent in dis- 
syllabic adjectives is usual in M. (and Shakespeare) when they precede a 
monosyllable or a noun accented on the first syllable. Cf. I. 735, Comus, 
273, "Not any boast of skill, but extreme shift," 421, "She that has 
that is clad in complete steel. " 

211. far removed', cf. 321, and see I. 74, 75, note. 

215, 216. essence', see 439. vapour; used of hot exhalations, as 
in xn. 635. inured, accustomed to the flames. To inure is literally 
'to bring into practice' ( = ure). 

217 19. Cf. 274 78. temper, temperament. 

219. void of pain-, a consideration appropriate to Belial, who 
represents slothful ease and luxury. 

220. light', a noun, surely; to take it as an adj., 'easy,' is to lose ^ 
the fine hyperbole that for them darkness may become light. 

Cowper notes the awkwardness of the rhyme in 220, 221 : "rhyme " 
(he adds) "is apt to come uncalled, and to writers of blank verse is often 
extremely troublesome." 

224. for happy, regarded as happy looked at from that standpoint. 

226 28. His counsel accords with his effeminate character (i. 490). 
Cf. Comus, 759, "Obtruding false rules pranked in reason's garb." 
ignoble easeignobile otium, Vergil, Georg. iv. 564. 


228. thus Mammon. See I. 678. His speech partly replies to 
Moloch (since he dismisses the notion of war altogether), partly carries 
Belial's counsel a step farther. The gist of what Belial said was 'let 
us temporize, stay here and trust to chance something may happen.' 
Mammon answers 'let us indeed stay here, but not idly look to the 
future : rather straightway set about founding a realm here to compensate 
for what we have lost there.' Belial, type of ease and sloth, stands, as 
it were, halfway between Moloch and Mammon. 

This notion of a "realm" in Hell, the counterpart of that in 
Heaven, is of course purely traditional, not invented by M. Thus in 
the old Faust-book (1587) Mephistophiles tells Faustus that Hell is 
divided into ten kingdoms, under five rulers (Lucifer, Beelzebub, Belial, 
Phlegethon and Ascheroth). See Thorns' English Prose Romances, 
in. 185, 186. 

231, 232. then. ..when, i.e. then only= 'never.' A favourite phrase; 
cf. iv. 970, "Then, when I am thy captive, talk of chains." 

233. the strife, between Fate and Chance (cf. 907 10) ; or 
between the rebellious angels and the Almighty (less probable). 

2 34 2 35* the former, to unthrone the King of Heaven; the latter, 
to regain our lost rights, to hope, to hope for ; cf. VI I. 121. argues, shows, 
proves (Lat. arguere) ; this is a common Elizabethan use. Cf. iv. 830. 

241 43. See v. 161 63. forced', contrast vi. 744. 

245. ambrosial, often used by M., as by Tennyson, of that which 
delights the sense of taste or of smell. Cf. ambrosia^ fragrance,' v. 57. 

249. pursue, seek after, try to regain, i.e. "our state" (251). 

254. Horace, Epist. I. 18. 107, 108, et mihi vivam \ quod superest 
cevi. We may note the oxymorons in these lines (252 57). 

255 57. It was a favourite thought with Milton that many men 
would rather have "Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty" (S. A. 
271): i.e. would sacrifice their freedom to save the trouble of main- 
taining it. Sallust, his favourite historian (as M. writes in a Letter 
to Lord Henry de Bras), makes .dimilius Lepidus say accipite 
otium cum servitio ...mihi potior visa est periculosa libertas quiet o 
servitio. Aubrey (reflecting, no doubt, what he had heard from Milton's 
nephew Edward Phillips and others acquainted with the poet) says that 
Milton's intense "zeal to the liberty of mankind," and his republicanism, 
came largely from his admiration of the Roman writers and Roman 
Commonwealth. Similarly Hobbes complained that at the Universities 
young men learnt from the classics to despise monarchy (see Marvell, 
" English Men of Letters Series," pp. n, 12). 

26367. Cf. Psalm xviii. n, 13; and xcvii. *, "Clouds and dark- 
ness are round about him." 

27073. See i. 670 et seq. 

NOTES. 407 

271. wants not, does not lack. 

273. magnificence ; such as the palace described in I. 710 et seq. 

'74 275. All existing things were supposed to consist of four 
elements or constituent parts fire, air, water, earth ; and in each 
element dwelt certain Spirits or daemons peculiar to it, ruling it, and 
partaking of its nature. Cf. // Penseroso, 93, 94 : 

"And of those daemons that are found 
In fire, air, flood, or under ground." 

That these daemons were the fallen angels was a common view; see 
Appendix, pp. 67274. When M. makes Mammon say that their 
"torments" (i.e. Hell's fires) may become their "element," he clearly 
alludes to these beliefs. 

278. sensible, sense; adjective for noun. 

281. compose, adjust, i.e. adapt ourselves to. 

282. where; so the First Ed. ; the Second Ed. has were. 

284 90. Cf. v. 872, 873. Editors compare Iliad n. 144, JEneid 
X. 96 99. For the elaboration of the simile cf. the note on 488 95. 

288. overwatched, tired with watching ; cf. S. A. 405. 

292. field, battle. 

294. the sword of Michael, i.e. the "two-handed" sword, "from 
the armoury of God" (vi. 251, 321), with which in the battle in 
Heaven Michael laid low the rebellious angels and disabled Satan 
himself (vi. 320 30). Not mentioned in Daniel or Revelation. 

299, 300. In Scripture Beel-zebub = Baal-zebub, 'lord of flies,' is 
the Sun-god of the Philistines, i.e. a local manifestation of the great 
deity Baal (see I. 422), his chief oracle being at Ekron, "where 
answers seem to have been obtained from the hum and motions of 
flies" (Sayce). In P. L. he ranks next to Satan (see v. 671, note). 
Perhaps this notion that he was one of the chief of the infernal powers 
was due to the rendering of Mat. xii. 24, where the title "prince of 
the devils" is really applied to Beel-zebu/, 'lord of the heavenly 
height ' (cf. the margin). 

301, 302. Scan aspect, as often in M. and Shakespeare ; cf. v. 733, 
Vi. 450. Newton quotes 2 Henry VI. I. r. 75, ' Brave peers of England, 
pillars of the state." front, brow, Lat.frons; cf. Hamlet, in. 4. 56. 

306. Atlantean, worthy of Atlas, one of the Titans, who as a% 
punishment for making war on Zeus was condemned to bear heaven on 
his shoulders. Cf. Spenser, sonnet to Lord Burleigh : 

"As the wide compasse of the firmament 
On Atlas mighty shoulders is upstayd." 

" The myth seems to have arisen from the idea that lofty mountains 
supported the heaven" (Class. Diet.}. 


309. thus he spake ; and what he says sweeps on one side the main 
arguments of the previous speakers. 'War,' he urges, recognising 
their true position, ' with the Almighty (such as Moloch counsels), that 
is ridiculous : peace (such as Belial and Mammon dream of), that is not 
to be hoped for : suffer we must and shall, but suffering may be 
lightened by revenge and that of a subtler kind than Moloch pro- 
poses.' The speech of each deity is carefully differentiated, and 
consistent with his character. Similarly in the later books (v. VIIL, 
xi., xil.) the good angels Raphael and Michael are drawn on contrasting 
lines. But, in the main, the characters of the evil angels " are more 
diversified" (Johnson). 

311, 312. these titles ; see I. 737. style, title, appellation; cf. 
2 Henry VI. I. 3. 51, 52: 

"Am I a queen in title and in style, 
And must be made a subject to a duke?" 

313. for so ; alluding to the applause which Mammon had (284). 

315. In the original editions doubtless has a semicolon before and 
after, i.e. it is a parenthetic sarcasm : * build up here an empire as is so 
veiy likely ! ' Some remove the second semicolon and explain : ' while 
we dream undisturbed by any doubt.' 

324. " I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last," Rev. i. n ; 
also xxi. 6, xxii. 13. Cf. Ben Jonson, Masque of Augurs , "Jove is that 
one, whom first, midst, last you call." highth or depth, Heaven or Hell. 

327, 328. Cf. Abdiel's warning to Satan, v. 88688. In each 
case there is an allusion to Psalm ii. 9, "Thou shalt break them 
with a rod of iron" (cf. Rev. ii. 27). The distinction between 
iron typifying hostility and gold typifying benevolence is part of the 
symbolism in which M. delights. Cf. Lycidas, no, in, where St Peter 
bears "two massy keys" the golden admitting to Heaven, the iron 
excluding. A rod of gold, ' the Rod of Equity, 3 is among the regalia 
of the English Crown. 

those, his loyal subjects, the angels who had not rebelled with 

330. determined, made an end of us, i.e. crushed us. Cf. vi. 318. 

336. to, to the best of; cf. The Winter's Tale, v. 2. 182, "I will 
prove so, sir, to my power," and Coriolanus, II. i. 262. 

337. untamed, not to be tamed, reluctance, resistance. 

345 51. Addison considered this ancient prophecy in heaven con- 
cerning the creation of man a wonderfully imaginative stroke : "Nothing 
could shew more the dignity of the species, than this tradition which ran 
of them before their existence. They are represented to have been the 
talk of heaven before they were created... Milton gives us a glimpse of 

NOTES. 409 

them even before they are in being." See I. 65054, note. fame=L,3it. 
fama in the literal sense 'report' ; cf. i. 651. 

352, 353 by an oath. Cf. v. 607; see Gen. xxii. 16, "By myself have 
I sworn, saith the LORD," and /sat. xlv. 23. 

that shook; cf. sEneid ix. 106, annuit et totum nutu tremefecit 
Olympum itself from Homer, Iliad I. 530, ptyav 5* eXAi^e? "OXvfjLirov 
(the subject of the verb being Zeus) ; echoed by Dryden, Alexander's 
Feast, 35 37. Epic poetry has its conventions and formulas, handed 
down from Homer to Vergil, from Vergil to the Italian poets. 

360. Contrast 410 13 ; here he purposely lessens the danger. 

375. The First Ed. has originals, which shows that original 
= originator, parent (i.e. Adam). Cf. The Reason of Church Govern- 
ment, I. 3, "run questing up as high as Adam to fetch their original," 
P. W. II. 449, and A Midsummer- Nigh? s Dream, n. i. 117, "We are 
their parents and original." Some explain it =' earliest condition, 
primitive state.' 

376 78. advise, consider, or to, i.e. whether it is better to. 
vain empires ; such as Mammon foreshadowed. 

382, 383. confound, utterly ruin, one root, Adam (i Cor. xv. 22). 

384, 385. Cf. Raphael's warning that Satan would plot Adam's 
fall, "As a despite done against the Most High" (vi. 906). 

387. States ; often used by Shakespeare of a body of representa- 
tives or parliament; cf. King John, II. 395, "How like you this wild 
counsel, mighty states?" So here; cf. the phrase 'estates of the 
realm,' and etats in French. 

391. synod, meeting, assembly; cf. VI. 156, xi. 67. 

397 402. In later times,- according to tradition, some of the out- 
cast angels do become 'Spirits of air,' and dwell in " mild seats" of the 
middle region of air. 

398. not unvisited', M. is fond of this classical figure of meiosis or 

404. tempt, try, essay, Lat. temptare. 

406. obscure, obscurity: "palpable obscure " = " palpable dark- 
ness," xii. 188, i.e. "darkness which may be felt" Exod. x. 21. V 
Drayton had used the phrase "darkness palpable," and the Preface to 
the A.V. speaks of "thick and palpable clouds of darkness." Without 
doubt, the original of all these passages was Exod. x. 2 1 in the Vulgate 
tenebrce tarn densce ut palpari qiteant. (From Newton.) Lat. palpare= 
'to stroke, feel.' 

407. uncotith, strange ; cf. 827. 

409. the vast abrupt, the gulf between Hell and the World. 
arrive, arrive at, reach j cf. Milton's divorce-pamphlet, The Judg- 


ment of Martin Bucer, " if our things here below arrive him where he 
is," P. W. III. 282; so Julius Ccesar, i. 2. no, "But ere we could 
arrive the point proposed." In Elizabethan E. this omission of the 
preposition with verbs of motion is common. 

410. the happy isle, i.e. the Universe of this World, hung (1051) 
in Chaos, which is a kind of "sea" (1011) : hence the peculiar fitness 
of comparing Satan, as he journeys through Chaos, to a vessel making 
for its port (1041 44). See again in. 76. 

412. senteries ; so the original editions, and the metre requires 
the form. Perhaps the form sentery was due to the notion that the 
word came from Fr. sentier, 'a path,' Lat. semita ; it is thought to be 
a corruption of sentinel, stations =Lat. stationes, 'guards, pickets.' 

413. had, would have. 

415. choice, care in selecting by vote some one to send. 

423. astonished, struck with dismay, prime, chief, Lat./riVw/. 

425. proffer, offer himself, volunteer. 

430. With this speech cf. P. R. I. 44 105. The scenes are 
similar. In each case Satan undertakes a design from which his 
followers shrink here against Mankind, there against Christ. And 
there he reminds them how he alone faced the former danger, and 
argues that, having succeeded once, he will succeed again. 

432, 433. An echo of JEneid VI. 126 29, where the Sibyl tells 
tineas that the descent into Avernus is easy : 

"But to return, and view the cheerful skies, 

In this the task and mighty labour lies" (Dryden). 
The slow monosyllabic rhythm and the alliteration seem intended by 
Milton to suggest the laborious effort of ascent. 

434. convex, vault ( = Lat. convexuni)', a poetical use; cf. vn. 266. 

438. the void profound^ Lucretius' inane profundum. Cf. Tenny- 
son's line; " Ruining along the illimitable inane " (Lucretius). 

439. unessential Night, i.e. having no substance or being, essence 
= Lat. essentia (from esse) = Gk. ovo-la (or TO ov, 'that which really 
exists'). Night, he means, is a mere vacuity (932). 

441. abortive, monstrous, because unnatural, i.e. born prematurely. 
He speaks of the gulf as though it were some monstrosity, horrible 
through premature birth. Others says 'rendering abortive.' 

448. moment, importance. Cf. " of great moment," Hamlet, in. 
i. 86 ; "of no moment," 3 Henry VI. I. 2. 22. 

450. me ; purposely emphatic by position. 

452. refusing, if I refuse : honours and dangers go together. 

457. intend, consider ; a Latinism. 

461. deceive, beguile ; cf. Cowper, " to deceive the time, not waste 

NOTES. 41 1 

it." So Lat. decipere e.g. in Horace's dulci laborum decipitur sono 
is beguiled into forgetting his troubles (Od. n. 13. 38). 
465, 466. The abrupt form of the ending is significant. 

467. prevented, anticipated, forestalled. 

468. raised, encouraged ; agreeing with others. 
478. awful, full of awe, respect ; cf. Nat. Ode, 59. 

483 85. i.e. "Let not bad men set much store by those casual 
acts of seeming nobleness to which glory or ambition may doubtless 
spur even the worst of them ; for neither have that other class of evil 
beings... lost such virtue as this " (Masson). 

485. close, secret ; often in Shakespeare, varnished. . .with, speciously 
hidden by. 

488 95. This simile is typical of many in Milton : similes classical 
in manner, more like Vergil's than Shakespeare's. The peculiarity is 
that he works the simile out, in all its bearings, into a picture complete 
in itself but rather detached from the context. Cf. I. 768 75. 

489. while the North-wind sleeps Homer's 6(f>p etfSflo-i /x&os Bopt'ao 
(//. v. 524), "that wind generally... dispersing clouds" (Newton). See 
xi. 842, note. 

490, 491. element, sky. 

492. if chance, if it chances that; cf. Comus, 508, "How chance 
she is not in your company ? " The verb-construction (e.g. how does it 
chance that?') is influenced by the noun-phrase ('by what chance?'). 
So in A Midsummer -Night 's Dream, I. i. 129, "How chance the roses 
there do fade so fast ? " 

497502. The Civil Wars in England ; the Thirty Years' War in 
Germany (1618 48) ; the Civil War of the Fronde in France (1648 52). 

501. Dr Bradshaw notes that the phrase to levy war (see xi. 219), 
which Johnson censured, was a technical term found in legal documents 
and statutes. He cites from one of Barrow's Sermons (May 29, 1676), 
"those in the late times who, instead of praying for their sovereign,... 
did raise tumults, and levy war against him." Add Tennyson, Queen 
Mary, II. i, "must we levy war against the Queen's Grace?" 

503. to accord, to agree among ourselves. 

508. Paramount, lord, chief. 

512. globe, compact band ; cf. P. R. iv. 581. Lat. globus is used 
similarly of a close mass of men. 

513. emblazonry, i.e. shields emblazoned (i. 538) or figured with 
designs, horrent, bristling (see i. 563, note). 

5 1 4. Only the great angels had taken part in the council (i. 792 98) ; 
the others were awaiting its result. 


516. i.e. towards the four quarters of the compass; cf. in. 326, 
and see Ezekiel xxxvii. 9, "Come from the four winds, O breath, and 
breathe upon these slain, that they may live." 

517, 518. alchymy, trumpets made of the metal called ' alchemy 
gold' or 'alchemy.' Misunderstanding the word, Bentley proposed 
Orichalc\ Gk. 6peixa.\Kos, Lat. orichalcum (cf. JEndd xii. 87), yellow 
copper ore, and the brass made therefrom, harald ; cf. I. 752. 

522. ranged, assembled in ranks. 

526. entertain, pass, while away ; cf. the Argument of this book, 
" to entertain the time till Satan return," a phrase used by Shake- 
speare; cf. Lucrece, 1361, "The weary time she cannot entertain," 
and Sonnet 39. The picture of the angels variously employed recalls 
Vergil's description of the souls of the blessed in Elysium with their 
diversions, ALneid vi. 640 et seq. 

528 32. These "heroic games" (iv. 551, a similar scene) are 
Milton's counterpart to the Trojan sports, jEneid V. 577 et seq., and those 
of the Myrmidons, withheld from war, Iliad II. 773 et seq. : whence too 
the contests in The Dunciad. 

528. sublime = Lat. sublimis in the literal sense ' aloft,' ' uplifted' ; 
cf. P. R. iv. 542, "through the air sublime." 

530. Two of the great festivals of Greece were the Olympic games 
held every fifth year at Olympia, a small plain of Elis, and the 
Pythian at Delphi in honour of Apollo (the Pythian god). 

531, 532. Cf. XI. 643, "Part curb the foaming steed," i.e. in horse- 
races, or shun ; alluding (cf. Areopagitica, P. W. II. 68) to Horace, 
Od. I. i. 4, 5, metaque fervidis \ tvitata rotis, i.e. in chariot-races. To 
the chariot-races at Olympia M. refers in his sixth Elegy, 26 (volat Eleo 
pulvert fuscus eques), in the lines on Pindar. Cf. Dryden, Annus 
Mirabilis, stanza 56. brigads ; cf. I. 675. 

533. Probably the Aurora Borealis is meant, to warn ; because 
considered omens. 

534. Newton quotes r Henry IV. I. i. 10, " like the meteors of a 
troubled heaven. ' ' 

535- van, vanguard ; Fr. avant-garde. 

539. Typhcean; see I. 199, and cf. Astrcea Redux, 37, 38: 
"Thus when the bold Typhceus scaled the sky 

And forced great Jove from his own heaven to fly." 
But Typhon is the commoner form in English. 

540. ride the air ; cf. Macbeth, iv. i. 138 ; see 662, note. 

542. Alcides, Hercules, grandson of Alcoeus. The story, as com- 
monly told, was : Hercules, returning to Trachis from CEchalia where he 

NOTES. 413 

had killed Eurytus, landed at Cenaeum, the N.W. promontory of Eubcea, 
and sent Lichas, his companion, to Trachis to fetch a white robe wherein 
to sacrifice to Zeus ; Deianira, his wife, sent instead a robe dipped in 
what she thought to be a love-potion that would make Hercules true to 
her : the potion was a poison, and when Hercules put the robe on it 
ate into his flesh, and could not be removed : in his agony he hurled 
(i.e. from Censeum) Lichas into the sea, and himself aftenvards ascended 
Mt CEta in Thessaly, raised a pile of wood, and was burnt thereon. 
The story forms the subject of Sophocles' Trachinice; it is told also by 
Ovid, Metamorphoses ix., whom M. follows closely, e.g. in making 
Mt CEta the scene ; cf. Marvell, The Loyal Scot : 
' ' When CEta and Alcides are forgot, 

Our English youth shall sing the valiant Scot." 

There is a fine application of the tale in S. A. 1038, 1039, where an 
ill-matched wife is called " a cleaving mischief " to her husband. 

from (Echalia crowned', Ovid's victor ab (Echalia (136). (Echalia, 
a town in Thessaly. The First Ed. has Oealia. 

543. envenomed, because steeped by Deianira in the blood of the 
Centaur Nessus, whom Hercules had slain with a poisoned arrow. Cf. 
M. in In Obitum Procancellarii Medici, 10, n (alluding to the same 
story), ferus Hercules \ Nessi -venenatus cruore. 

545. Lichas ; see The Merchant of Venice, u. i. 32 35. 

546. Euboic sea, between Eubcea and the mainland. 

54655' Hey wood says of the infernal angels, " in Musicke they 
are skill'd" (Hierarchie, p. 441). 

552. partial, prejudiced in favour of themselves; it "was silent 
as to the corrupt motive of their conduct, and dwelt only on the sad 
consequences of it " (Cowper). 

554. suspended, held rapt, thrilled, took, enchanted. 

557. Cf. Scott's happy allusion " others apart sat on a bench 
retired, and reasoned highly on the doctrines of crime " (describing the 
lawyers at the trial of Effie Dean, The Heart of Midlothian). 

55869. Cf. S. A. 300 et seq., P. R. iv. 286 et seq., where Greek 
philosophies are sneered at; and contrast Comus, 476 80 ("How 
charming is divine Philosophy "). 

559> 560. Probably M. is ridiculing the theological controversies 
of his own age : yet he himself discourses on free-will and predestination, 
not only in The Christian Doctrine, I. iv. (P. W. IV. 43 77), but even 
in P. Z. ; cf. in. 96 128, v. 524 40. 

564, 565. Referring primarily to the Stoics, whose philosophy he 
condemns in P. R. IV. 300 et seq. : apathy (Gk. d-, * not ' -f iradeiy, 'to 
suffer ') signifying in their system insensibility to suffering, hence freedom 


from passion or feeling i.e. a passionless tranqui Hi/as, "contemning 
all," P. R. iv. 304. Cf. the Essay on Alan, II. 101, 102 : 
"In lazy apathy let Stoics boast 

Their virtue fixed ; 'tis fixed as in a frost s " 

There is a passing allusion to "Stoic apathy" in An Apology for 
Smectymnmts (P. W. III. 136). 

568, 569. Horace, Od. I. 3. 9, UK robur et as triplex \ circa 
pectus erat, where aes, like " steel " here, is figurative, obdured ; cf. 
vi. 785. 

570. gross, dense, compact. 

572. dime, region ; see I. 242. 

575 576. In the main this picture of the infernal rivers is modelled 
on the classics (cf. sEneid VI.), with touches perhaps from the much 
fuller treatment in the Inferno. But M. has added some details, e.g. the 
making of the four rivers unite in the burning lake, i.e. the "lake of 
fire" of the Revelation (xix. 20, xx. 10). He refers to the meaning of 
each river's name, the collective allusion being to the lamentations of 
the souls of the wicked, borne to their punishment, baleful, sorrowful. 

577. Styx ; from ffrvyeiv, 'to hate, abhor'; the chief river of the 
nether world, round which it flowed "with nine circling streams" 
(Dry den) = navies Styx interfusa (^Eneid vi. 439). 

578. Acheron = i> &x ca ptw, ( the stream of woe.' 

579,580. Cocytus ; Gk. KWKUTOS, 'wailing,' from KWKVCIV, * to wail.' 

580, 581. Phlegelhon ; ipXeytdw, ' flaming' ; also called " Pyriphle- 
gethon " ; waves of fire (rOp), not water, flowing in its " torrent." 

583. Lethe', Gk. \^dr], ' a forgetting.' " A river in the lower world 
was called Lethe. The souls of the departed drank of this river, and 
thus forgot all they had said or done in the upper world" (Class. Diet.). 
Cf. Dryden, sEneid, vi. 957, "The gliding Lethe leads her silent flood," 
and 968, "In Lethe's lake they long oblivion taste." There is extant 
a copy of Browne's Britannia^ s Pastorals with MS. notes pronounced 
by some to be by Milton, and over against a description of this river 
are written the words, "They who drinke of Lethe never think of love 
or ye world." 

"The topography of the infernal rivers is rather indefinite and 
varied in classical writers. Lethe is generally removed from the rivers 
of horror as in Milton" (Osgood, Classical Mythology in Milton, p. 73). 
So Dante placed Lethe, not in Inferno but in Purgatorio (see canto 
xxvin.), making it the cleansing influence by which all memory of 
sin was washed out, and inventing a companion stream, Eunoe, by 
which the memory of all good deeds was restored to a man. 

589. dire hail ; Horace's/a//; satis...dira grandinis, Od. I. 2. i, 2. 

NOTES. 4*5 

590, 591. i.e. the ruin of some ancient building; cf. "pile high- 
built," S. A. 1069. 

59 2 593- La ke Serbonis (now dried up) lay on the coast of Lower 
Egypt, separated from the sea by a narrow strip of sand (Herodotus 
Hi. 5); close to Mt Casius (Herod, n. 6). 

Damiata, now Damietta on the easternmost mouth of the Nile; it 
has been identified with Pelusium. Milton's reason for introducing the 
name Damiata is, no doubt, its association with the great Italian epics. 
Ariosto makes Orlando go to Damiata (Orlando Furioso, XV. 48), and 
Tasso (xv. 16) speaks of it ; and in the Inferno, XIV. 104, it " stands 
for the Eastern civilisation which was superseded by that of Rome." 

Burke quotes these lines (592 94) with great. effect in his speech 
on Conciliation with America (Payne's ed., I. p. 196); see also his 
Reflections on the Revolution in France (n. p. 231). 

594. Primarily from Diodorus Siculus (i. 30), who says ol the 
\t/j,vrj TroXXoi rCov ayvootivTtov TTJV IdioTrjTO. TOV rbirov juera 
^(paviffdrjaav. How this happened, Sandys' Relation 
shows : the Lake, he says (and he had been there), was " borderd on 
each side with hils of sand, which being borne into the water by the 
winds so thickened the same, as not by the eye to be distinguished from 
a part of the Continent : by means whereof whole armies have bin 
devoured. For the sands neere-hand seeming firme, a good way entred 
slid farther off, and left no way of returning, but with a lingring cruelty 
swallowed the ingaged: whereupon it was called Barathrum.... Close to 
this standeth the mountaine Cassius (no other than a huge mole of 
sand)," p. 137. Seemingly the only historical basis of this story is the 
fact that when Darius Ochus, the Persian, invaded Egypt he lost part 
of his troops in the lake. 

594> 595- parching, used of the drying, withering effect of cold 
(cf. Lye, 13, "parching wind") or heat (cf. XII. 636). frore, frosty. 
cold... fire \ Newton aptly quotes Ecclus. xliii. 21, "The cold north 
\t\\A... burneth the wilderness, and consumeth the grass as fire" ; and 
Vergil, Georg. I. 93, ne...frigus adurat. The r...r sound may be 
meant to suggest shuddering. Aubrey says that M. "pronounced the 
letter R very hard " (and adds, " a certaine signe of a satyricall wit "). 

596 603. "This idea of making the pains of Hell consist in cold 
as well as heat [i.e. by alternations] was current in the Middle Ages... 
it seems to have come from the Rabbin [Jewish commentators], for 
they make the torments of Gehenna to consist of fire and of frost and 
snow " (Keightley). Cf. Dante, Inferno, III. 86, 87, where Charon says, 
"Woe to you, depraved spirits ! I come to lead you... into the eternal 
darkness, into fire and into ice," and the Purgatorio, in. 31, 32. Dante 


makes the last circle, the ninth, of the Inferno the frozen circle, where 
the greatest sinners are confined (xxxn. xxxiv.). I find the idea 
worked out in Giles Fletcher's Christ's Victory on Earth, 22, and in 
the Faust-book (1587), where Mephistophiles describes Hell to Faustus 
in a passage closely resembling these lines : also, when Faustus is 
suffered to visit Hell, out of curiosity, he finds there "a most 
pleasant, clear and cold water; into the which many tormented 
souls sprang out of the fire to cool themselves, but being so freezing 
cold, they were constrained to return again into the fire, and thus 
wearied themselves and spent their endless torments out of one 
labyrinth into another, one while in heat, another while in cold," 
Thorns' English Prose Romances, ill. pp. 194, 212. The notion was 
known to Shakespeare; see Measure for Measure, III. i. 121 23. 
And Sir Thomas Browne introduces it in his Urn Burial, iv. 

596 597- harpy-footed, with feet like the talons of Harpies (hideous 
winged creatures, with hooked claws see sEn. in. 211 18, P. R. n. 
403). haled = hauled, dragged ; in First Ed. hailed, i.e. summoned a 
possible reading, revolutions, i.e. of time. 

600. starve, afflict, perish with cold. O.E. stertten io perish, die. 

604. sound, strait. 

61 1. Medusa, one of the three Gorgons ; the one most mentioned 
in classical writers. Her hair being changed into serpents by Athene, 
her appearance became so terrible that all who looked at her were 
changed into stone. See the allusion in Comus, 447, to "that snaky- 
headed Gorgon shield" worn by Athene, and cf. the note on X. 526, 527. 
So Gray, Adversity, 35, " Not in thy Gorgon terrors clad." 

612 14. According to legend, Tantalus, for divulging the secrets 
of Zeus, was *' punished in the lower world by being afflicted with a 
raging thirst, and at the same time placed in the midst of a lake, the 
waters of which always receded from him as soon as he attempted to 
drink them " (Class. Diet.). See S. A. 500, 501. 

615 18. See i. 733, note, first, for the first time, found no rest', 
editors compare Mat. xii. 43, Luke xi. 24. 

620. Alp ; used of any high snow-capped mountain. 

621. The number of monosyllables suggests variety, i.e. of scenery. 
625. prodigious, unnatural, monstrous. 

628. Cf. x. 524 (for rhythm) and Comus, 517. Hesiod mentions 
three Gorgons, daughters of Phorcys, monsters with wings and brazen 
claws, and hissing serpents, instead of hair, on their heads. The 
Lernean Hydra was a serpent with nine heads that ravaged the 
country near Argos ; slain by Hercules (his 2nd ' labour '). In Of 
Reformation in England, n, M. has the phrase "a continual hydra of 

mischief and molestation," f. W. . 4 ,r. See also his Sonnet to 

, ,, 

*,,, ^cr, 5* x^cupa (//*/ vi. 181), i.e. part lion, par 
dragon part goat. M. mentions these three monsters together because 
Vergil (* H . vi. ,87-89) and Tasso (iv. 5) had done the same. 

634. shaves, skims ; cf. radit iter liquidttm^neid v. 217. 

635. concave, roof. 

636. -What simile was ever so vast as this?" (Tennyson). His 
other favourite simile in Paradise Lost was "the gunpowder one" 
(iv. 814-19). Note here how fully the simile is worked out beyond 
the precise point of comparison (see 488, note): how also the 

roper names convey an impression of mysterious remoteness (see 

great similes are introduced with a 

637-40. hangs, i.e. seems to the distant spectator to be in the 
wes U t at tST^'f* 1 " thC trade - winds > -hich blow from east to 

tTan fe s ^r 6 f T^ " < Bradshaw ) > Awards <M M. 
sfers trading from the wind to the sea. ,/,, i.e. together, so as to 
fo. seen from far, a single object-like the single figure of Satan. 

M had m his mind's eye a fleet of East Indiamen (Newton). The 
importance of the East Indian trade, especially the Dutch, is felt in 
Vyte^AnnusZhrabilis. cf. especially stanzas 2, 3, 4 , , ' and L? 
with its picture of merchantmen "doubling the bapt" (cf.^r) Cf 
also Marvell's description of the merchant ships sunk in the Thames to 
prevent the victorious Dutch going further up the river in SfflJ 
Instwctions to a Painter, 66074) 

th 3 , 9 ' J? nat t ^ Tid re > tW f the M Iuccas 

"MO luclt" a ' C "f Pelag ' C J OSe t0gether< Hcxham dCSCribeS the 
abunda f n T thr U 2 hout th world, in regard of the 
abundance of all sorts of sweete spices, but especially for the Cloue! 



640. rt w the ships. >^ ; used similarly of the sea by Shake 
speare eg. in A Midsummer- Ni g kts Dream, I i; J u Marking 
embarked traders on the flood." 

4I; ^ r anCG ^ thC map WU1 Sh w that Milton use * " the wide 
i '" S6a) = the Indlan Ocean ~ tha t -, the ocean east* 
is was m accordance with classical usage, Ethiopia being 
P. L. 



limited to the only part of Africa south of the Red Sea which the 
ancients knew, namely, its eastern coast. Gradually the use of the term 
"Ethiopia" expanded with the progress of Portuguese geographical 
discovery westward, until it applied to the vast region stretching from 
ocean to ocean. And the name " Ethiopia Sea" was transferred from 
the sea washing its eastern shores, which had come to be known as the 
"Indian Ocean" (Mare Indicum), to the sea on its western side. 
Thus in Hexham's Mercator, in the map of Africa, I find the name 
Oceamis JEthiopicus given to the sea west of Africa what we call 
the 'South Atlantic'; and in the letterpress the terms "^Ethiopicke 
Ocean," "./Ethiopicke Sea," are always used so. The same is the case 
in Heylin's map of Africa ; while speaking of the Atlantic, he says, 
"some parts hereof, which wash the Westerne Shores of (Ethiopia 
Inferior, be called the (Ethiopick Ocean" (Cosmography, Lib. iv. 71). 
One can scarce do else than conclude that for Milton's readers the 
title Ethiopian might more naturally have meant the South Atlantic 
(or western sea), not the Indian Ocean ( = Oceanus Orientalis in 

641, 642. Cape, of Good Hope, stemming, pressing forward, i.e. 
breasting the waves; cf. Juli us Ccesar, i. 2. 109. the pole, the South 

643 48. Cf. 434 37. For nine as a sacred number, see I. 50. 
impaled, encircled. The double alliteration (i...j and p...p) has a fine 
effect of emphasis. 

648 73. The basis of the allegory of Sin and Death lies, appro- 
priately, in Scripture: "Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth 
forth sin : and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death, "James i. 15. 
In ix. 12 Death is called the "shadow" of Sin, and in the poem we never 
meet with them apart. How far M. means us to read an allegorical 
meaning into his description is hard to say. I doubt, e.g., whether the 
" yelling monsters " (795) should be regarded as typifying " the mental 
torments that are the consequence of sin" (Keightley). To me they 
seem to be introduced without allegorical intent partly because they 
intensify the element of mere horror, partly for the sake of the literary 
parallel. On the other hand, the "mortal sting" is plainly symbolical ; 
cf. i Cor. xv. 56. 

650. the one. Milton's figure of Sin is own sister to Spenser's Error 
( The Faerie Queene, I. i. 14, 15) and Phineas Fletcher's Hamartia or Sin 
(The Purple Island, XII. 27 cf. also his Apollyonists, i. 10 et seq.}\ 
their common origin being the classical accounts of Scylla, notably 
Ovid's (Metamorphoses XIV.) and Vergil's (sEneid in. 424 et seq.). 
It is therefore as a study in a familiar style, not as a fresh creation, 



that the picture should be viewed. So with his figure of Death. The 
subject of his poem, in itself, supplied him with few characters. 
651, 652. So Hesiod describes Echidna, Thcogony 298. 
voluminous ; perhaps with the literal sense 'in rolls or folds ' (Lat. 
volumen, from volvere, 4 to roll'); cf. Pope, Windsor Forest, "The silver 
eel in shining volumes roll'd." So in Dryden's Annus Mirabilis, st. 123. 
6 5456. cry, pack. Cerberean, as of Cerberus, the many-headed 
dog that guarded the entrance to Hades, list, wished, chose. 

65961. According to the legend, Circe threw magic herbs into 
the waters where Scylla bathed, so that she was changed in the way 
M. implies. See Bacon's application of the myth in The Advancement 
of Learning, i. 4. 6. abhorred, to be abhorred. Calabria, in South 
Italy. Trinacria, Sicily, so called from its triangular shape. 

662. the night-hag ; probably Hecate, the goddess of sorcery, is 
meant. Cf. Macbeth, ill. 5 (from which M. quotes in Comus, 1017), 
especially 20, where Hecate says, " I am for the air," and Dryden, 
Annus Mirabilis, st. 248. See Comus, 135. 

called, i.e. invoked to take part in rites ; cf. Macbeth, in. 5. 8 and 
34 ("Hark! I am call'd "). 

664. infant blood; alluding to an ancient superstition. When the 
witches in Jonson's Masque of Queens assemble and relate what they 
have been doing, one says : " Under a cradle I did creep, By day ; and 
when the child was asleep, At night I sucked the breath " ; whereto the 
next : " I had a dagger : what did I with that? Killed an infant." In 
the footnote Jonson adds, "Their killing of infants is common... 
Sprenger reports that a witch confessed to have killed above forty 
infants... which she had offered to the devil"; and then he cites 
authorities, e.g. Horace, Epod. V. Cf., perhaps, Macbeth, iv. i. 30. 

to dance-, like the witches in Macbeth ; cf. iv. i. 132, stage-direction, 
"The Witches dance, and then vanish, with Hecate." So Jonson 
makes his witches, in the midst of their rites, fall "into a sudden 
magical dance "commenting that this is in accordance with tradition 
(Masque of Queens'). Upon the significance of the custom, see Tylor's 
Primitive Culture, n. 133. 

665. Lapland 'was traditionally a home of witchcraft ; cf. Burton's 
Anatomy, i. ii. i, 2 ("Digression of Spirits"), The Comedy of Errors, iv. 
3. u, "Lapland sorcerers," and Hudibras, in. i. 113, u 4 . Heylyn 
calls the Laplanders "great sorcerers" (Cosmography, n. 122). Their 
chief instrument of divination was an oval cylinder or drum figured with 
various designs, notably of the moon and heavenly bodies. See "Reg- 
nard's Journey to Lapland" (1681), which contains a full account of 
the ' sorcerers ' and their incantations ; also the narrative of Leems 



(1767), on the " Magic Arts of the Laplanders" (both in Pinkerton's 
Voyages, 1808, vol. I.)- 

665, 666. The belief that the moon (see I. 785, 786) and 
heavenly bodies are affected by magic is very old and widespread. 
Cf. Pliny, Nat. Hist. II. xii. i, "As for the Moone, mortall men 
imagine that by Magicke sorcerie, and charms, she is inchaunted" 
(Philemon Holland's translation, 1601). See Vergil, EcL vin. 69, 

*-Ovid, Metamorphoses vn. 192 et seq., Horace, Epod. v. 45, 46. Mar- 
lowe's Doctor Faustus claims (ill. 38) that Mephistophilis must do 

"whatever Faustus shall command, 
Be it to make the moon drop from her sphere." 
So in Fairfax, Tasso, IX. 15, " The moon and stars for fear of spirites 
were fled," and xni. 9. 

labouring; cf. Cowper (translating Milton's Italian sonnet to 
Diodati), " And from her sphere draw down the labouring moon." 
So Lat. /adores = 'eclipse,' laborare, 'to suffer eclipse.' Cf. Vergil, 
Georg. II. 478, defectus soils varies, lunaque labores, 

666. the other Shape. Joseph Warton thought that Milton owed 
the "person of Death" to the 6dvaros of Euripides in the Alcestis ; 
cf. the Sonnet, " On his Deceased Wife." But Death as a personified 
figure had been described by Spenser (F. Q. vn. 7. 46), and introduced 
(as Todd noted) in Morality and early Elizabethan plays. I daresay 
too that a similar allegorical presentment might be found in some 
popular Book of Emblems, or in the famous wood-cuts, The Dance of 
Death (1538). In any case we must remember that the tendency to 
personify (fostered by the very important influence ot the Morality- plays 
and, later, of the Masque) was a characteristic of early i7th century 
poetry. Roughly it may be said that this allegorising habit came from 
the Latin tendency to personify abstract words, the two great masters 
of it being Dante and Spenser. 

670. Cf. Homer's ipefufv VVKT\ <?oiK<6s, Od. xi. 605 (Newton). 

672. The "dart" of Death, a symbol of the force by which humanity 
is laid low, is mentioned in XI. 491. 

what seemed. In his fine criticism of this passage Coleridge notes 
how the abstract vagueness of such description appeals to the imagina- 
tion with a subtle force which concrete, more clearly defined, imagery 
would lack altogether. Cf. iv. 990. 

673. a kingly crown ; cf.Job xviii. 14, Rev. vi. i. 

677. admired, wondered ; cf. i. 690. 

678, 679. Strictly, the construction includes "God and his Son" 
among "created things"; but the sense is clear. 

686, 687. taste, i.e. its effects. Hell-born! echoed in 697. 

NOTES. 421 

688. Goblin, demon, evil spirit. Cowper remarks on the variety of 
titles; for Death: "the poet. ..seems to exhaust both invention and 
language for subtle appellations." 

692. See Rev. xii. 4, and cf. V. 710, VI. 156. In ix. 141, 142 
Satan boasts that his followers were "well nigh half" the angels. Their 
number was a point of dispute among the Schoolmen. 

693. conjured, sworn together (conjuratt). 

695. waste, spend, pass; cf. The Tempest, v. 302. 

701. -whip of scorpions. Cf. I Kings xii. ir. 

706. deform = 'L2i\.. deformis, 'hideous, unsightly.' 

706 n. Cf. IV. 985 et seq. (Satan's meeting with Gabriel). 

708. The comparison of a warrior clad in armour to a comet 
is at least as old as the ALneid (x. 272, 273), and is finely em- 
ployed by Tasso (n. 52). The vast scale of the simile here conveys a 
profound impression of Satan's majesty. 

709. Ophiuchus, a constellation of the northern (cf. " arctic") hemi- 
sphere, consisting of some 80 stars and extending about forty degrees in 
length : lit. 'the Serpent-holder,' from Gk. o0ts, 'a snake' and fyw, 
Lat. Anguitenens or Serpentarius ; cf. Hey wood's Hierarchie (p. 124), 
and for an apt illustration of the simile, Henry More's Song of the Soul'. 

"Ye flaming comets wandering on high, 
And new-fixt starres found in that Circle blue, 
The one espide in glittering Cassiopie, 
The other near to Ophiuchus high." 

710. 711. The appearance of a comet was traditionally held an 
omen, generally of disaster. Cf. a passage in Batman vppon Bartho- 
lome (1582), viii. 32, curiously like this: " Cometa is a starre beclipped 
with burning gleames...and 'is sodeinly bred and betokeneth changing 
of kings, and is a token of pestilence or of war.., and. they spread their 
beames toward the North " ( = " arctic sky "). horrid hair, i. e. the tail 
of the comet ( = Ko^rrjs, 'long-haired,' from /c6^w;, 'hair'). Cf. 
i Henry VI. I. i. 2, 3 : 

"Comets, importing change of times and states, 
Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky." 

711. Cf. the encounter of Michael and Satan in the battle in 
Heaven, compared to the clash of two planets, VI. 310 15. 

715, 716. Cf. Dryden: 

"Lightning and thunder (heaven's artillery] 

As harbingers before th' Almighty fly." 

But the phrase was common. Caspian; chosen as typical in poets 
of a tempestuous region; cf. Tasso VI. 38, The Faerie Qucene, II. 
7. 14. 


719. so, thus; completing the simile; cf. 947, I. 209, 311, 775. 
that, so that; a constant use in M. Cf. The Tempest, I. 2. 370, 371: 

"[I'll] make thee roar, 
That beasts shall tremble at thy din." 

722. foe, i.e. Christ. See i Cor. xv. 25, 26, Heb. ii. 14. 

730. and knoufst, though knowing; in original eds. not a question. 

739. spares to, refrains from; cf. Lat. parcere followed by infinitive. 
So M. in prose; cf. Of Reformation in England, n, "neither doth the 
author spare to record," P. W. II. 41 r. 

746. Phineas Fletcher in his Apollyonists has the line, "The 
Porter to th' infernall gate is Sin." 

74951. By a fitting stroke of allegory, the birth of Sin is made 
to synchronise with the first sign of disobedience in Heaven. 

755 58' As Athene sprang from the head of Zeus. 

787 89. Cf. Georgic iv. 525 27 (with Pope's imitation, St Cecilia's 
Day, vi.), where the river-banks re-echo the name 'Eurydice'; also 
Tennyson's Merlin and Vivien (end). Other Vergilian references are 
Eclogue vi. 43, 44, &neid n. 53. 

809. So Satan recognises Fate as the highest power (l. 116, note). 

813. To temper metal is to harden it by cooling after it has been 
heated; cf. I. 285, VI. 322. mortal dint, deadly blow. 

815. lore, lesson, what he had to learn (lore and learn cognate). 
Note the change in his tone. When in bk. ix. Eve tells (659 63) 
Satan that she may not touch the forbidden fruit under pain of death, 
Satan affects (695) not to know what death is. He is "the father 
of lies." 

8 1 8. pledge', cf. the use of Lat. pignus. 

823. Cf. vi. 877 (note). 

825. pretences, claims; or ' designs, ambitions'; cf. vi. 421. 

829. unfounded, bottomless, lit. 'having no base' (L,o.\..fundus). 

830. foretold; see 34553. 
833. purlieus, outskirts. 

836, 837. surcharged, overfull, broils, turmoils; Fr. broiiiller. 

839 44. Cf. x. 397 409, where after the Temptation Satan bids 
Sin and Death make Mankind their prey and the Earth their posses- 
sion "There dwell and reign in bliss." See Psalm xlix. 14. 

842. buxom, yielding. Cf. V. 270, and The Faerie Qucene, 
I. ii. 37, "And therewith scourge the buxome aire so sore." The 
phrase is a reminiscence, as Keightley noted, of Horace's pete cedentem 
['yielding'] aera disco (Sat. II. 2. 13). embalmed, made fragrant j 
cf. balmy = 'fragrant,' from balm = ' aromatic resin or oil.' 

847. famine, hunger ; " the cause for the efrect " (Cowper). 

NOTES. 423 

855. might; the edition of 1678 (the third) has wight (from 

868. Homer's 8eol pe?a fu>oi>rej, Iliad VI. 138; cf. Counts, 26, 
and Tennyson, (Enone: 

"the Gods who have attain'd 
Rest in a happy place and quiet seats 
Above the thunder, with undying bliss." 
There is a similar passage in The Lotos-Eaters, 8. 

869. As the Son sits at the right hand of the Father (v. 606, 
vi. 892); profane sarcasm seems intended. 

880. The sound, especially the r sound, echoes the sense ; see II. 
594. 595. note. 

883, 884. That Sin cannot close the gates is symbolical. 
885. that, so that ; cf. 719. 

889. redounding, in clouds, volleys; Lat. redundare, 'to overflow.' 

890. In this picture of Chaos, to be compared with Ovid's, Metamor- 
phoses I. 5 20, Milton labours (as Masson notes) to convey to the reader 
an impression of the utter confusion of the scene described: heaping image 
on image, idea on idea, by which the imagination may be baffled (e.g. 
in 892 94), and the mind bewildered with an insistent sense of the 
inconceivable. And the rhythm heightens the effect. It is to this part 
of P. L. that M. alludes in ill. 1521. 

891. "One would think the deep to be hoary," y^xli. 32. Perhaps 
secrets = ' secret places,' Lat. secreta, here and again in 972 (Newton). 

894 96. "All the ancient naturalists [i.e. men of science], philo- 
sophers, and poets held that Chaos was the first principle of all things ; 
and the poets particularly make Night a Goddess, and represent Night 
or darkness, and Chaos or confusion, as exercising uncontrolled dominion 
from the beginning" (Newton). But in personifying Chaos as a distinct 
divinity Milton seems to have extended the classical conception. His 
epithets referring to the antiquity of Night ("the ancestress of gods 
and men") are drawn from the classics. (See Osgood, s.v. "Chaos" 
and "Night.") Nature, the created Universe. 

898. The four "elements" are meant, Milton's terms for them 
being, I suppose, proverbial ; cf. Drummond of Hawthornden, Floivers 
of Sion ("The Muses' Library" edition of Drummond's Works, n. 9). 
See 274, 275, note, 912, in. 714, 715 (closely parallel); and cf. Dryden, 
St Cecilia's Day, i 10 : 

"From harmony, from heav'nly harmony 
This universal frame [cf. 924] began. 
When Nature underneath a heap 
Of jarring atoms lay, 


And could not heave her head, 

The tuneful voice was heard from high: 

Arise, ye more than dead. 
Then cold and hot and moist and dry 
In order to their stations leap, 

And Musick's pow'r obey." 

899. mastery. The original editions have the curious form 
Maistrie, up till the fourth (iGSS), which changes to Mas fry. 

900. embryon, embryo; the semina rerum of Lucretius. 

903, 904. unnumbered, innumerable. Barca...Cyrene, the chief 
cities of Cyrenaica in northern Africa, a region often treated as typical 
of sand. Cf. Fairfax, 7asso, XVII. 5, "From Syria's coasts as far as 
Cirene sands." 

905, 906. levied, raised (Fr. lever), but also with the notion 'to levy 
troops' cf. "warring winds"; it qualifies sands, poise, give weight to 
(Fr. peser). their... wings, i.e. of the winds, lighter, which would be 
too light but for the sand. 

906, 907. i.e. the element, or champion, to whom for the moment 
most atoms cling, is victor. 

91027. Satan's pause is artfully contrived so as to enable the 
poet to describe Chaos without seeming to delay the narrative 

911. As Nature, i.e. the Universe, was born out of Chaos (= "this 
Abyss"), so may she at last fall back again into Chaos. He is varying 
an old thought, that all things proceed from Nature and, perishing, pass 
back into Nature. Cf. Borneo and Juliet, II. 3. 9, 10 : 

"The earth that's nature's mother is her tomb; 
What is her burying grave that is her womb " ; 
and Tennyson, Lucretius, "the womb and tomb of all, Great Nature" 
(from Lucretius V. 260, omniparens eadem rerum commune sepulcrum). 
The idea occurs also in Shakespeare's 86th Sonnet. 

918, 919. i.e. standing looked, frith, channel, estuary, firth. 

921, 922. Cf. Vergil's sic parvis componcre magna solebam, Eel. I. 
24, and Georg. IV. 176, si parva licet componere magnis; so in vi. 310, 
311, x. 306, P. R. iv. 563, 564. Bellona, the goddess of war ; cf. Mac- 
beth, I. 2. 54. 

923. engines ; probably cannon are meant. 

924. frame, fabric, structure. 

927. steadfast, i.e. according to the Ptolemaic system; cf. VIII. 32 
("the sedentary Earth"), vans, wings, Ital. vanni. 

933. pennons, i.e. pinions, Lat. pentue. 

934. fathom ; in the original edition fadom (cf. the Middle E. form 

NOTES. 425 

fadme), and M. himself evidently intended this spelling, since the MS. of 
Comus (in his own beautiful handwriting) has the cancelled line " And 
halfe the slow unf adorn' d poole of styx " (i.e. Styx). The d sound gives 
a stronger sense of depth. 

937. instinct, filled, charged with, nitre, saltpetre. 

939. Syrtis, quicksand. 

941. consistence, substance or mixture, of sea and land. 

943 47. Cf. Herodotus in. 116, "The northern parts of Europe 
are very much richer in gold than any other region : but how it is pro- 
cured I have no certain knowledge. The story runs, that the one-eyed 
Arimaspi purloin it from the griffins" (Rawlinson) ; and IV. 13, 27, where 
he speaks of "the gold-guarding (xpwo0i5Xa/ces) griffins." Pliny (Nat. 
Hist. vil. 2) says that these Arimaspi live near the Scythians, "toward 
the pole Arkticke," and that they "maintaine warre ordinarily about 
the mettall mines of gold, especially with griffons, a kind of wild beasts 
that flie, and use to fetch gold out of the veines of those mines : which 
savage beasts strive as eagerly to keepe and hold those golden mines, as 
the Arimaspians to disseize them thereof, and to get away the gold from 
them" (Philemon Holland's translation, 1601, I. 154). See Lucan, 
Pharsalia in. 280, vn. 756. 

The legend, which Sir Thomas Browne places among his Vulgar 
Errors, in. xi., may have had some connection with the fact that gold 
is found in the Ural mountains near which the Arismaspi were thought 
to dwell. 

943. gryphon, a mythic monster, a sort of chimaera; "sum men seyn 
that thei han the body upward as an eagle, and benethe as a lyoune.... 
But a griffoun hathe the body more gret, and is more strong thanne 
viij. lyouns, and more gret and strongere than an c (i.e. 100) egles, 
suche as we han amonges us" Sir John Mandeville, who knew a 
country where the "griffoun" was quite common. See The Faerie 
Queene, I. 5. 8. Jonson makes it a type of "swiftness and strength," 
Masque of Queens. 

945. Herodotus (iv. 27) says that the name Arimaspi means 
* one-eyed,' "in the Scythian language." 

948. dense, or rare, i.e. matter now thick, packed close now thin; 
raro e denso, as Dante says (Paradise, II. 67, xxil. 141); "dense," or 
" condense " (vi. 353), and "rare" are exact opposites. The rhythm 
expresses the difficulty of Satan's journey. 

958) 959- i.e. the nearest way to the point where darkness borders 
on light. There should be no comma after "lies." 

959 67. This picture of the palace of Chaos is as conventional and 
classical as that of Sin. Cf. the cave of Death, thronged with person- 
ified Shapes of evil and disease (xi. 47793) ; or the abode of Murder 


in Milton's Latin poem on the Gunpowder plot, /;/ Quintum Norembris, 
139 54. So Spenser describes the palace of Pluto: Payne and Strife 
at his side: Revenge, Treason, Hate hard by: Care guarding the door 
(The Faerie Queene, II. 7. 21 25). Such passages owe their similarity 
to their common origin, viz. Vergil's account of the realm of Pluto, 
JEneid vi. 273 81. Of 959 63 Pope has a most felicitous parody in 
The Dunciad, iv. (ad fin.) \ see also canto I. where he makes Dulness 
the "Daughter of Chaos and eternal Night." Indeed, all Pope's bur- 
lesque of epic machinery and style, in The Rape of the Lock and The 
Dunciad, derives, I think, more from Paradise Lost than from the 
classics. The same Miltonic influence is strongly felt in Gray's satirical 
Hymn to Ignorance, which starts, as his editors note, with a humorous 
echo of P. L. I. 250. 

960, 961. pavilion, palace; see Psalm xviii. n. wide .. .wasteful 
( = vast, desolate), Milton's favourite form of alliteration. Cf. Nat. Ode, 
51, 64, Arcades, 47, Lycidas, 13, and compounds of wide', see VI. 253, 
XI. 121, 487, // Pcnseroso, 75. 

962. In Euripides, Ion 1150, /AeXd/xTreTrXos is said of night. 

963. consort ; in Hesiod (Theogony 123) Night is the daughter of 
Chaos. It has been said that Milton sometimes makes his own 
mythology, e.g. in his genealogy of Mirth, L 1 Allegro, \ 8. 

964. Orcus, Ades\ Lat. and Greek names of Pluto, god of Hell. 
964, 965. name of Demogorgon ^DeinogorgQn. himself; a Latinism. 

Demogorgon, a deity supposed to be alluded to by Lucan, Pharsalia VI. 
744, and said to be first mentioned by name by Lactantius (fourth 
century A.D.) ; also to be mentioned by the Italian writers, Boccaccio, 
Boiardo, Tasso, and Ariosto. 

Spenser makes Demogorgon the lord of Chaos "Downe in the 
bottome of the deepe Abysse" The Faerie Qiteene, iv. 2. 47; Marlowe 
recognises him as co-ruler with Beelzebub of the nether world, Faustus, 
III. 18; Greene speaks of "Demogorgon, master of the fates," Friar 
Bacon, xi. no, and "Demogorgon, ruler of the fates," Orlando Furioso\ 
and he is an important character in Shelley's Prometheus Unbound. 
Apparently too he is identical with the " Great Gorgon prince of dark- 
ness and dead night," at the sound of whose name "Cocytus quakes, 
and Styx is put to flight" (The Faerie Queene, i. i. 37). The name has 
been considered a corruption of d-rjjjuovpyus ; it is at least noticeable 
that Demogorgon became the patron of alchemists. Thus Howell, 
in his Instructions for Forraine Travell, calls alchemists "devout 
Naturalists and Disciples of Demogorgon " (Arber's ed., p. 81). 

967. "A thousand busy tongues the goddess bears" Pope de- 
scribing Fame (Temple of Fame). 

977. confine with, border on. 

NOTES. 427 

983-86. Cf. iv. 66567. 

988. Anarch ; cf. The Dttnciad, iv. 655. 

989. incomposed, disturbed, discomposed (Lat. incompositus). 
99398. See the closely parallel passage, vi. 871 74. 

1001. our; so the original editions; changed by some to your. But 
by our Chaos proclaims himself an ally with Satan against their common 
foe : their cause is the same. 

1004, IO 5- Heaven, the sky of this world, chain \ see 1051. 

1006. Heaven ; here the Empyrean is meant. 

1007 9. Chaos, we see, directs Satan's course, as he had been 
asked (980), and wishes him good speed. Yet when Satan, after the 
Temptation, descends to Hell and announces to his followers the result 
of his mission (x. 460 et seq.}, he pretends that Chaos had "fiercely 
opposed" (478) his journey. 

ion. Cf. xi. 750. 

1017, 1018. Argo, the vessel in which Jason and the 50 Argonauts 
sailed to JEa. (afterwards called Colchis) to fetch the golden fleece. 
Bosporus, the Thracian Bosporus, now the Straits of Constantinople ; 
connecting the Propontis (Sea of Marmora) with the Pontus Euxinus 
(Black Sea). At its eastern entrance, i.e. where it opens into the 
Black Sea, stood two rocks, one on either side, the Symplegades, so 
called (from Gk. vvv + TrX^o-o-ew, 'to strike'), because when a ship was 
passing through they clashed together and crushed it. By the advice 
of the seer Phineus and the help of Hera, the Argonauts managed to 
pass, and thenceforth the rocks were fixed motionless. Juvenal calls 
them concurrentia saxa (Sat. xv. 19), i.e. "justling." 

1019, 1020. Scylla (660) and Charybdis were two rocks, close 
together, in the Straits of Messina between Italy and Sicily. The 
currents or whirlpools were so strong that sailors seeking to avoid 
the one rock were generally driven on the other : whence the proverbial 
line, from the Alexandreis of Philip Gaultier, incidis in Scyllam cupiens 
vitare Charybdim. Cf. Milton's pamphlet the Animadversions ', 4 : 
"you have rowed yourself fairly between the Scylla and Charybdis, 
either of impudence or nonsense," P. W. ill. 67. It is a very common 
poetic allusion ; cf. The Merchant of Venice, ill. 5. 18 20. 

larboard, the left side of a ship; Ulysses, by steering to the left, 
nearer to Scylla, thus avoided Charybdis on his right. 

1028. a bridge; see X. 293 et seq. 

1032, 1033. For the thought that Guardian Angels watch over men, 
see Comus, 21620, 45369, S. A. 1431. In The Christian Doctrine, 
i. 9, Milton deals with the ministry on earth of Angels. Todd quotes 
Richard III. v. 3. 175, "God and good angels fight on Richmond's side." 


1034. Cf. IX. 107 (said of the stars), and 192. sacred; since "God 
is light," in. 3. Cf. Dante's lume santo in the Paradiso, IX. 7. 

1037. glimmering dawn. Cf. Lycidas, 26, where the MS. shows 
that M. first wrote " Under the glimmering eyelids of the morne," but 
substituted opening which heightens the personification. 

1039. her outmost works, i.e. Nature's. 

1042 44. holds, makes for; cf. Lat. tenere, which implies, also, 
reaching a destination (portum, terrain etc.). 

1048. undetermined qualifying heaven. "Its extent was such that 
from the portion that was seen the eye could not determine whether its 
margin was straight or curved" (Keightley). See x. 381. "Take a 
segment of a great circle, and you shall doubt whether it be straight or no " 
(Selden, Table-Talk, Reynolds' ed., p. 198). 

1050. living sapphire; again in IV. 605. M. is fond of this use of 
living, exactly = ' vivid.' Cf. Dante's la viva luce of Paradise (xxill. 31, 
xxxi. 46), and vivo hime (xxxni. no). 

1051. golden chain; alluding to Homer's story of the golden chain 
of Zeus, suspended from Heaven, whereby he can draw up the gods, 
and the earth and sea, and the whole universe, though they cannot draw 
him down (Iliad vili. 18 27). Cf. Chapman, Shadow of Night, "The 
golden chain of Homer's high device." Plato (Theatetus 153 c) inter- 
prets it of the Sun. It is curious to note how poets apply the story. 
Spenser uses it of the chain of Ambition by which men strive to rise in 
the world (The Faerie Quecne, II. 7. 46, 47). Dryden, in his character 
of "The Good Parson," says: 

"For, letting down the golden chain from high, 

He drew his audience upward to the sky." 

Milton himself in his Latin piece De Spherarum Concentu says that 
Homer meant the golden chain as a symbol of the chain of connection 
and design that runs through the universe ; and Pope follows him 
(Essay on Man, I. 33, 34) : 

"Is the great chain that draws all to agree, 

And drawn supports, upheld by God or thee?" 

Jonson (Masque of Hymen see his note) writes of marriage, "Such was 
the golden chain let down from heaven"; and Tennyson of prayer 
(Morte D* Arthur] : 

"For so the whole round earth is every way 

Bound by gold chains about the feet of God." 

Among prose-references we may add Bacon, The Advancement of 
Learning, I. i. 3, and 11. vi. I ("that excellent and divine fable of the 
golden chain"); Drummond of Hawthornden's Platonic discourse on 
Death entitled A Cypress Grove (1623) see "The Muses' Library" ed., 

NOTES. 429 

II. 265 ; and Sir Thomas Browne : " There is a nearer way to heaven 
than Homer's chain" (Religio Medici, i. xviii.). 

1052, 1053. i.e. the Universe, hung in space, looked in comparison 
with the Empyrean as small as some minor star which being close to 
the moon's superior light seems insignificant. Cf. Tennyson : 

"a candle in the sun 

Is all but smoke a star beside the moon 
Is all but lost" (Queen Mary, v. i). 

"This pendent world," as Newton notes, cannot mean the Earth, 
which Satan does not see till he has gained entrance through the outer 
surface of the Universe (ill. 498 543). 

In IV. 1000 M. uses a similar expression "the pendulous round 
Earth" in a different sense. There the Earth itself is meant, and 
"pendulous" expresses its relation ("self-balanced," VII. 242) to 
surrounding space within the Universe, 


The exordium (i 55), apart from its beauty of thought and diction, 
has a twofold interest personal, in that it is touched with the pathos 
of Milton's resignation under his affliction of blindness ; artistic, in that 
it is a fitting prelude to a fresh development in the action of the poem. 
Hitherto the scene has been the gloomy regions of Hell or Chaos : now 
our imagination is lifted to the Empyrean and the new-created Universe, 
still in its primal splendour. The transition from darkness to light is 
aptly marked by this celebrated introduction. 

Lines i, 2 and 21 26 are (I believe) the first lines quoted from 
Paradise Lost in any work by a writer contemporary with Milton. They 
are cited contemptuously in The Transproser Rehearsed, or the Fifth Act 
of Mr Bayes's Play, Oxford, 1673, by Richard Leigh of Queen's College 
(see Notes and Queries, IV. i. 456, 457) ; the title of which is an obvious 
echo of MarvelFs controversy with Parker (see p. 366). 

1, 2. Either Light was subsequent to the Deity, as being the first 
thing created by Him, or Light existed from Eternity equally with 
Him. See yil. 243 52 (with notes). 

fi,rst-born', cf. vn. 244, and S. A. 70, "Light, the prime work of 
God, to me is extinct," and 83, "O first-created beam." 

It has been well said that there is something peculiarly personal and 
sensitive in Milton's references to light. 

2, 3. i.e. or may I, without blame, call ("express") thee co-eternal 
with the Deity? since \ he gives his reasons (from Scripture) for 


terming Light "co-eternal." Cf. i John i. 5, "God is light," and 
i Tim. vi. 16, "Who only hath immortality dwelling in the light 
which no man can approach unto." 

4. The passage in Thomson's Slimmer beginning, " How shall 
I then attempt to sing," is a typical example of the spell that Milton 
exercised over him and his contemporaries, especially in the sphere of 
blank verse. 

7. hear'st thou rather, dost thou prefer to be called ? A classicism; 
cf. Gk. AcXtfeij', Lat. audire, as in Horace's seu Jane libentius audis 
(Sat. II. vi. 20). So M. in his Lat. poems, e.g. in the Epitaphium 
Damonis, 209, sive ceqnior audis \ Diodotus; also in his prose- works, 
e.g. in Areopagitica, " what more national corruption, for which England 
hears ill abroad [/ca/cws KXrfet, male audif\, than household gluttony?" 
(P. W. n. 73)- 

9 12. Genesis i. 3 5. wert', an old preterite, cognate with was. 

10. invest, enwrap; Lat. investire. Cf. i. 208. 

12. won from the... infinite, formed out of the realm of Chaos. 

void, i.e. of form, not of matter. 

13 15. wing... flight. His favourite metaphor, "wing "(like penna) 
being a natural emblem of that which uplifts the poet's genius. Cf. 1.14. 

14. the Stygian pool, i.e. Hell. The phrase occurs in a cancelled 
line (early) of the Comus MS. Dante speaks of himself as having passed 
"from the deepest pool \iiaW hifima lacuna'} of the universe," i.e. 
from Inferno, up to Paradise (Paradiso, xxxni. 22 24). 

long detained ; the action of books I. and II. (up to 927) being laid in 

16. utter... darkness, of Hell, as always in M. (cf. I. 72, V. 614): 
middle darkness, of Chaos. M. means that in n. 629 1055 ^ e de- 
scribed the flight of Satan through Hell, and thence upward through 
Chaos towards Heaven, utter, outer. 

17. i.e. with loftier strains than those of the Orphic Hymn to 
Night (one of the poems of unknown authorship attributed to the 
mythic Orpheus). M. says "other," implying 'greater,' because he 
regarded himself as literally an inspired teacher perhaps in the same 
sense that the Hebrew prophets were inspired. See I. 17 26, note. 

19. the Heavenly Muse, Urania, the power whom he invokes 
at the beginning of the poem (i. 6). 

20, 21. An echo of sEneid VI. 126 29; cf. II. 432, 433. rare, 
seldom achieved, safe', carrying on the idea of "escaped" (14). 

25, 26. drop serene... dim sitffusion. See Appendix, pp. 682, 683. 
quenched-, the metaphor of putting out a light ; cf. S. A. 95. 
orbs ; used of the eye-balls ; cf. ociilorum orbes in ALneid XII. 
670, and Gk. KiJ/cXoi, e.g. in Sophocles, Antigone 974 

NOTES. 431 

26 29. His love of literature, in particular classical poetry, has 
not failed. He is still devoted to those ancient poets inspired by the 
Muses (note the plural here and contrast 19) who haunted the "hill" 
of Helicon, with its "clear springs" Aganippe and Hippocrene (where 
was the famous "grove" of the Muses), and Parnassus with the famed 
Castalian fountain. 

29. So Vergil (Georg. II. 476) describes himself as serving the 
Muses, ingenti percuss^ls amore. 

sacred '; in the general sense 'divine.' 

29 32. But his love of the classics is exceeded by his love of 
Scripture. "Sion hill" (i. 10), and "Siloa's brook' 1 '' (i. n) and the 
brook Kidron : these scenes and the literature associated with them 
the Psalms of David and the works of the singers of Israel are dearest 
to him. See the closely similar lines in bk. i. (6 13). For Milton's 
preference of sacred Hebrew poetry to classical, cf. P. R. iv. 346, 347, 
where he makes our Saviour say that the works of Greek poets 
"Will far be found unworthy to compare 

With Sion's songs, to all true tastes excelling." 

And in The Reason of Church Government, n (Preface), he pronounces 
"those frequent songs throughout the law and prophets... over all the 
kinds of lyric poesy... incomparable," P. W. II. 479. 

32. nightly. Milton was best inspired at night or daybreak. This 
is clear from vu. 28 30 and IX. 21 24. Newton in his Life of M. 
says that the poet's widow, "being asked... who the Muse was, replied 
it was God's grace, and the Holy Spirit that visited him nightly." 
(Cf. Shakespeare's famous 86th Sonnet!) Johnson refers to the statement 
in Richardson's Life of Milton (1734), that M. "would sometimes lie 
awake whole nights... and 'on a sudden his poetical faculty would 
rush upon him with an impetus^ and his daughter was immediately 
called to secure what came" (a similar story is told of Pope). 

nor sometimes forget, and constantly call to mind ; see v. 178, note. 

33. those other two, i.e. Thamyris and Maeonides, poets as well as 
"prophets" rather than Tiresias and Phineus, "prophets" alone. 
equalled... in fate, i.e. blind. 

34. i.e. and would that I might be equal ; a parenthesis. 

$o\ probably =Lat. sic introducing an imperative clause, i.e. as a 
formula of wishing; cf. Horace's sic te diva potens etc., Od. I. 3. i 4. 
M. apparently uses this Latin "formula of invocation" several times; 
cf. P. R. II. 125, Lycidas, 19. 

35. Thamyris ; according to Homer, Iliad II. 595 600, a Thracian 
bard, who, for boasting that he could surpass the Muses in song, was 
deprived of his sight and of the power of singing. Plato mentions him 
together with Orpheus twice (Laws vin. 829 E, Republic x. 620 A). 

/ , 


Maonides, i.e. Homer; called Maonides, either as a son of Mtzon, 
or as a native of M&onia, the ancient name of Lydia. Hence he is 
also called Mceonitts senex, and his poems the Mcconice chartce or 
Mceonium carmen, Spenser calls the praise of Queen Elizabeth an 
"Argument worthy of Mseonian quill" (The Faerie Queene, n. 10. 3). 
Pope ironically laments that he cannot do justice to the merits of 
George II. (Satires, v. 394, 395) : 

"Oh! could I mount on the Maeonian wing, 

Your arms, your actions, your repose to singl" 

See also the quotation from Wordsworth on p. 688. The tradition of 
Homer's blindness is mentioned as early as the Homeric Hymn to the 
Delian Apollo. 

36. 7zresias, the blind sooth-sayer of Thebes, famous through the 
CEdipus Rex of Sophocles and many other works down to Tennyson's 
Tiresias. In De Idea Platonica, 25, 26, M. refers to him as "the Theban 
seer whose blindness proved his best illumination " ; so in the Second 
Defence (P. W. I. 236), where he is speaking of his own affliction. 

Phineus, another blind prophet, king of Salmydessus in Thrace ; 
best known in connection with the Harpies (ALneid III. -211 13), from 
whose torments two of the Argonauts freed him. In his second Letter 
to Leonard Philaras (Sept. 28, 1654) M. compares himself with Phineus, 
quoting the account of the prophet's blindness in the Argonautica of 
Apollonius Rhodius. 

Dante was another sufferer, though from weakness of sight not 
blindness, and seems to allude similarly to the fact in the Inferno, II. 
97 98, where the note in the "Temple" edition gives other references, 
e.g. the Vita Nuova, XL. 27 34. 

38. numbers, verse, the wakeful bird, the nightingale, Milton's 
favourite bird, if we may judge by his many references to it. See IV. 
602, 603, *vii. 435, 436, // Penseroso, 56 64. 

44. human face divine \ his favourite word-order; cf. 396, 439, 
692. See I. 733, note. 

45. Cf. I. 22, 23 ("what in me is dark" etc.). dark; an adj.= 
noun is common in M. ; cf. 380. 

50. and wisdom ...shut out; an absolute construction, added 
rather loosely as a sort of climax to the whole sentence. Cf. Lycidas, 
128, 129: 

" Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw 

Daily devours apace, and nothing said." 

This elliptical idiom occurs in Milton's prose-works. Cf. the Animad- 
versions, 4 : "seeing the power of Thy grace is not passed away with the 
primitive times, as fond and faithless men imagine, but Thy Kingdom is 
now at hand, and Thou standing at the door" (P. W. in. 72, 90). 

NOTES. 433 

55. His favourite claim (in some degree, traditional with epic 
poets) to peculiar inspiration and novelty of theme. 

57. Empyrean, Heaven, the abode of the Deity and his angels. 

60, 61. the Sanctities, the divine beings; abstract for concrete. 
Editors refer to 2 Henry IV. iv. 2. 11. 

61, 62. his sight, the sight of him. An allusion to the Visio 
Beatifica\ see I. 684. Hooker, speaking of the three types of 
"angelical actions," says that the first is "most delectable love, 
arising from the visible apprehension of the purity, glory and beauty 
of God, invisible save only unto spirits that are pure," Ecclesiastical 
Polity, i. iv. i. Cf. M. in The Christian Doctrine, I. 33, "Perfect 
glorification [of the righteous] consists in eternal life and perfect 
happiness, arising chiefly from the divine vision" Sir Thomas Browne 
has a fine passage on the idea (Christian Morals, ill. xv.)> and so has 
Drummond (A Cypress Grove), giving it a Platonic colouring ( Works, 
II. 277, 278). 

62 64. "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express 
image of his person... sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on 
high," Hebrews i. 3. See 138 42, 384. 

69 76. The last lines of bk. II. described Satan reaching in his 
ascent from Hell the upper regions of Chaos and making his way 
towards the Empyrean, close to which he perceived the globe of this 
World hung in Chaos by that golden chain (n. 1051) which is fastened 
to the Empyrean. Now he has arrived at the "crystal battlements" 
(i. 742) that separate the Empyrean from Chaos, and is flying along 
them of course, on the outside. Below him lies the globe of the 
World ; he prepares to swoop down to its surface ; by 422 he has 
done so. 

70. the gulf , Chaos, " the main Abyss" (83). there, in Chaos. 

71. this side, i.e. the side nearest to the Empyrean. The realm of 
Night (personified) lies in Chaos, between Hell and the Empyrean. 
Into the upper regions of this realm penetrates the light reflected from 
the battlements of the Empyrean, and forms a kind of half-light, "a 
glimmering dawn" (n. 1037) what M. calls (72) a "dun" atmosphere, 
i.e. brownish, dusky (like Dante's /' aer bruno). See again 427 29. 

72. sudtimq = Lat. sublimis in its literal sense 'aloft'; cf. 
II. 528. 

73. The alliteration may be meant to indicate Satan's exhaustion. 

75. Viewed from outside, this Universe appeared to be a solid, 
spherical mass of land, without sky (the sky which, we see being 
supposed to be inside the "first convex" or outer crust). 

76. uncertain^ it being uncertain. This is an absolute construction 
P. L. 28 


modelled on the elliptical use of Lat. incertum, e.g. in Livy xxxi. 41. 2, 
clauserunt portas incertum vi an voluntate. Cf. iv. 593. 

in ocean. So in II. 410 Satan speaks of the World as "the happy 
isle.'" Chaos, in which it hung, was a mixture of land and sea (n. 939, 

80343. This Council in Heaven has been called a less dramatic 
counterpart to the Council in Hell in book n. It is perhaps to some of 
these speeches that Pope would have pointed for the justification of his 
famous sneer ("To Augustus," 99 102, Imitations of Horace): 
" Milton's strong pinion now not Heaven can bound, 
Now serpent-like in prose he sweeps the ground ; 
In quibbles angel and archangel join, 
And God the Father turns a School-divine." 

Addison showed, with more sympathy, the difficulty inherent in the 
subject: the poet here "dares not give his imagination full play." 
82, 83. the chains. Cf. I. 48. 

84. -wide interrupt, with its wide division, i.e. between Hell and 
Heaven, interrupt', a past participle = Lat. interrupttts. 
90. assay, attempt. 

93. glozing, flattering ; with the idea of falsehood. 

94. the sole command, i.e. to abstain from the forbidden tree. 

100. Cf. Satan's own words, iv. 6368. That the rebellious 
angels, like Adam and Eve, had free will, to obey or disobey, is 
emphasised in V. 525 43 and elsewhere. Cf. 7^he Christian Doctrine, I. 
3, "in assigning the gift of free will, God suffered both men and 
angels to stand or fall at their own uncontrolled choice" (P. W. iv. 38). 

101. failed. Bentley thought that M. dictated /*//; cf. 102. 

106, 107. Cf. The Christian Doctrine, I. 4, "the acceptableness 
of duties done under a law of necessity is... annihilated altogether" 
(P. W. iv. 63). 

108. "When God gave him [Adam] reason, he gave him freedom 
to choose, for reason is but choosing," Areopagitica (P. W. n. 74). 
Reason is speculative: will, practical in fact, the power of putting 
reason into action. It is by reason that we choose the right course, 
by will that we take it. Such seems Milton's meaning. 

129. the first sort, the fallen angels, suggestion, temptation; a 
common Elizabethan sense ; cf. IX. 90. 

135. ambrosial, delicious. 

136. Cf. i Timothy v. 21, "the elect angels," which M. explains in 
The Chnstian Doctrine, I. 9, to mean "beloved, or excellent." 
See 360, vi. 374, 375. In P. L. this Scriptural word marks off the 
good angels from the revolted. 

NOTES. 435 

13842. Cf. vi. 68r, 682, note. 

143. -which, viz. his compassion, love and grace ( = graciousness). 

147. The hymns and songs are "innumerable," not their "sound." 

150. should Man... be lost? * would it be right that Man should be 
lost?' The original editions mark that it is a question. 

J 53 1 54- "That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay 
the righteous with the wicked," Gen. xviii. 25. 

156. The name Satan means 'adversary'; cf. Dante's /' antico 
avversaro {Purgatorio, XI. 20) ; and "foe" in 179. 

159. return, i.e. to Hell. 

163. abolish thy creation', as Beelzebub hoped (i I. 368 70). 

1 66. blasphemed, impiously spoken ill of. 

1 68. "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," 
Mat. iii. 17. 

169. "The only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the 
Father," John i. 18. Cf. 239, 279. 

170. my word', referring to the use in the New Testament of 
'Word,' Gk. X6yos (Vulgate verbum), as a title of the Son; see 383, 
note, effectual might, i.e. power by whom the will of the Father was 
effected, e.g. in the creation of the World ( John i. i 3 ; cf. 
P. L. vii.). 

176. lapsed, lost through man's offence, forfeit, forfeited. The 
tone and wording of the line are legal; cf. 219. 

177. exorbitant, excessive. 
179. mortal, deadly; cf. I. 2. 

183, 1 84. The doctrine of predestination here alluded to is discussed 
by M. at some length in The Christian Doctrine, I. 4. 

185, 186. i.e. be warned of their state and advised to appease. 

189. Perhaps M. refers to Ezekiel xxxvi. 26. 

197. persisting', in a good sense = ' continuing steadfast.' 

safe arrive, i.e. attain salvation ultimately. Cf. Matthew x. 22. 

206. The Serpent tempts Eve with the promise of godhead, IX. 
708. Cf. Gen. iii. 5, "in the day ye eat thereof.. .ye shall be as gods." 

affecting, seeking to win; Lat. affectare, 'to aim at.' 

208. sacred and devote, utterly doomed. The words have practi- 
cally the same meaning: sacred='LaA.. sacer, 'dedicated to a deity for 
destruction'; devote Lat. devotus, 'set apart as by a vow (votum) ' with 
the same object. 

2ii. as willing) i.e. not less willing than able. 

215. mortal crime, i.e. deadly; the use of mortal in its two senses 
(cf. 214) is an intentional quibble. Cf. I. 642, note, IV. 181. 

to save, i.e. which of ye will be so just as to save the unjust? 



(Newton). Cf. i Pet. iii. 18, "For Christ also hath once suffered for 
sins, the just for the unjust." 

216. charity ', love. 

217. All the angels of Heaven shrink from the task of saving man, 
just as all the fallen angels their leader excepted shrank from under- 
taking the expedition to ruin man (n. 417 26). The Saviour himself 
must achieve the one work, as the Tempter himself the other (Newton). 
Dryden challenged comparison when he wrote The Hind and the 
Panther, u. 499514. 

218. "There was silence in heaven," Rev. viii. i. 

219. The metaphor of the passage being legal, probably patron 
Lat. patronus in its legal sense, 'defender,' "advocate" (i John ii. i). 
Cf. Minsheu's old Dictionary (1625): "A Patrone, or defender... L. 
advocatus qui alterum defendit." 

intercessor. "And he saw that there was no man, and wondered 
that there was no intercessor," Isaiah lix. 16. 

225. "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily," 
Colossians ii. 9. 

226. dearest, most heartfelt, earnest. 

227. passed, pledged. 

231. For this favourite form of verse see II. 185, note, and cf. 
Hamlet, I. 5. 77, "Unhousel'd, disappointed, unaneled." 

tmprevented, unanticipated (i.e. by prayer); grace comes before man 
has prayed for her. prevent ;Lat. pncvenire, ' to come before.' 

233. dead in sins; from Colossians ii. 13. 

2 3^> 237. me. For this emphatic repetition see vi. 812 19. 

243. given me to possess. A Latinism; cf. I. 736, xi. 339. 

244 65. Texts of Scripture referred to ar 'C: John v. 26; Psalms 
xvi. 10, u, Ixviii. 18; Acts ii. 27; i Cor. xv. 26, 55; Col. ii. 15; 
Rev. xx. 14. In the speeches which he assigns to the Almighty 
or the Son M. employs largely the words of Scripture. 

246. all; qualifying /in the previous sentence: ' I am his due at 
least, all of me that can die.' 

255. maugre, in spite of; O. Fr. maugre modern Fr. malgre. 

show, i.e. to the Almighty. 

258. ruin, hurl down. M. uses ruin = L,at. ruina in its literal 
sense ' fall.' Thus in I. 46 he speaks of the "ruin " of the angels from 
heaven, and in S. A. 1514, 1515 of the " ruin " of Dagon's temple, i.e. 

266. Scan aspect, as usually in M. and Shakespeare ; cf. IV. 


270. attends, awaits ; cf. Fr. attendre. 

NOTES. 437 

271. admiration, wonder; cf. the verb in II. 677, 678. 

275. Tinder wrath; referring to the future, when man shall have 
incurred the Almighty's wrath by the disobedience of Adam and 

276. complacence, pleasure, i.e. in whom pleasure is taken. 

277. 278. An allusion to the proverbial phrase ; cf. Julius Casar, 
ill. i. 189, "Though last, not least, in love"; and King Lear, I. i. 
85, 86, " our joy, Although the last, not least" 

285. room, place, stead. 

285 89. See i Cor. xi. 3, xv. 22 (" as in Adam all die "). 

290 94. Referring to the doctrine of imputed righteousness which 
M. deals with in the chapter " Of Justification," The Christian Doctrine, 
I. 22. He writes, " As therefore our sins are imputed to Christ, so 
the merits or righteousness of Christ are imputed to us through faith"; 
then he illustrates the doctrine from Scripture. Cf. P. L. xii. 407 10. 

299, 300. giving to, yielding, submitting, to ; somewhat similar is 
2 Henry IV. I. i. 164, 165, "if you give o'er to stormy passion," i.e. 
yield to. Some interpret, ' giving himself* so dearly, at such a cost. 

306. equal to God. Philippians ii. 6. 

312 41. Among the texts embodied in these lines are: Phil. i. 
9, ii. 10 ; Mat. xxiv. 30, 31, xxviii. 18 ; i Cor. xv. 51,52; i Thess. iv. 16. 

317. anointed; alluding to the meaning of Messiah ' anointed.' 

318. 319. Cf. Horace's sume siiperbiam \ quasitam meritis(0d.l\\. 
30. 14, 15). merits, deserts. 

319. Cf. Ephes. iv. 15, " the head, even Christ." So in V. 606. 

320. All titles of the three Hierarchies of Heavenly beings. Prince- 
doms = ' Principalities ' (vi. 447), Gk. d/>xcu'. See Appendix, pp. 680 82 . 

326. i.e. from the four quarters of the compass. Cf. II. 516, note. 
See The Merchant of Venice, I. i. 168, and cf. Tennyson, Pelleas and 
Ettarre : 

"Then Arthur made vast banquets, and strange knights 
From the four winds came in." 

327. cited, summoned. 

328. doom, judgment. Cf. Romeo and Juliet, III. 2. 67, "Then, 
dreadful trumpet, sound the general doom ! " ; and Lucrece, 924, " From 
the creation to the general doom." 

329. a peal, i.e. of the last trumpet (i Cor. xv. 52). Cf. Nat. Ode, 
155, 156. 

330. Saints, righteous men ; a favourite word in this sense with M. 
and with the Puritans; cf. 461, and XII. 200, note. 

333 35- Based on 2 Peter iii. 12, 13, as to which Dr Salmon 


wrote " Many parts of the Canonical Scriptures speak of fire as the 
future punishment of the wicked ; but I do not remember any other 
place where it is said that the whole world itself shall be burned " 
(Introduction to New Test.). The doctrine is conspicuous in works 
like the Revelation of Peter which reveal the influence of the Second 
Epistle. M. recurs to it xi. 900, 901, xn. 546 51. 

335. " And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, " Rev. xxi. i. 

338. For the apparent accentuation (triumphing], see I. 123, note. 

340. need, be necessary ; cf. IV. 235. 

341. " That God may be all in all," i Cor. xv. 28. 

gods ; M. applies this title ( = ' angelic or divine being ') alike to the 
" elect " and to the fallen angels (i. 116). 

344 415. A parallel to the account in II. 521 628 how the fallen 
angels " spent their hours" (417) in Hell. 

344 47. all the multitude .. .uttering ', an absolute construction. 
The Angels are a " Chorus" such as M. contemplated for his drama 
on the subject of Paradise Lost (Dunster). 

350. towards either throne \ i.e. towards the Father and the Son. 
See the vision of " the four and twenty elders," Revelation iv. 

353. amarant, the unfading flower; "immortal"; see XI. 78, 

356. Perhaps the idea of the flower being transferred was suggested 
by the Rabbinical doctrine that after the Fall of Man "the Garden [of 
Eden], with its contents, was removed to Heaven " (Keightley). 

357 358' Alluding to the " pure river of water of life, clear as 
crystal" (xxii. i), the "living fountains of waters" (vii. 17), mentioned 
in Revelation ; "on either side of the river was there the tree of life" 
(xxii. 2). 

359. Elysian, such as might grow in Elysium = \n Vergil and other 
classical writers the region in which dwelt the souls of the good. Cf. 
Shelley, Prometheus, II. 2, " Elysian flowers, Nepenthe, Moly, Ama- 
ranth." Milton's ' Heaven ' is, in the main, the ' Paradise ' described 
by the early apocalyptic writings of Christianity ; and in this ' Paradise' 
flowers are a conspicuous feature. 

amber, clear, transparent as amber ; one of those literary epithets 
(cf. P. R. III. 288, Gray, Progress of Poesy, 69) due to the classics ; 
cf. Vergil's purior electro... amnis Georg. in. 522. 

362 64. ' Now the pavement was bright (" smiled ") with roses 
in garlands which the angels threw down thick.' 

363. "And before the throne there was a sea of glass, like unto 
crystal," Rev. iv. 6. 

NOTES. 439 

364. impurpled, made brilliant. Cf. Lycidas, 141, "And purple 
all the ground with vernal flowers. " 

smiled ; cf. the use of Lat. ridere * to be bright, gay with,' e.g. as 
a field with flowers. 

368. symphony, harmonious strains; cf. I. 712. 

371. part', used in its musical sense, as in ' part-song.' 

375 77* Cf. 3 8. The construction is ' Invisible, except when 
thou shadest...and thy skirts appear.' 

380. dark with excessive bright. Scientifically a fact ; as a figure 
of speech, an oxymoron (see IV. 314, note). Similar is V. 598, 599. 
Cf. Drummond's Hymn of the Fairest Fair (apostrophising the 
Trinity) : 

"Incomprehensible by reachless height, 
And unperceived by excessive light." 

Spenser had had the same idea ; cf. An Hymne of Heavenly Beautie, 
iiS, 119, 17679. 

381, 382. Cf. Isaiah vi. 2, "Above it stood the seraphims : each 
one had six wings ; with twain he covered his face" M. chooses the 
Seraphim as being the most lustrous, the "brightest" (667), of 
the Heavenly Orders ; yet even they cannot bear the extreme radiance. 
See Gray's lines on Milton, Appendix, p. 683. 

383. Cf. The Christian Doctrine, I. 5, "certain it is... that the 
Son existed in the beginning, under the name of the logos or Word [see 
170, note], and was the first of the whole creation" (P. W. IV. 80). 
That chapter (" Of the Son of God ") reveals Milton's Arianism very 

389. Cf. vi. 704. 

391 99. Closely similar to the account of the battle in Heaven in 
which Satan and his host are overthrown by Messiah (vi. 831 92). 

392. Dominations ; the title (Gk. Kvpi6TijTes) of one of the Orders 
of Heavenly beings. 

395. frame, fabric ; a favourite word with M. ; cf. n. 924, v. 


398. thee only, since Messiah drove out the foe unaided (vi. 880). 

406. Supply than or but ; the main verb is offered (409). 

413, 414. my song... my harp. Probably the speaker is intended 
to be the chorus of angels, regarded as one individual (in accordance 
with the constant practice of the Greek dramatists cf. the choruses of 
S. A.)\ the reference to harp (cf. 365) makes this probable. But it 
is possible that M. himself is speaking. 

416. starry sphere, the starlit sky of this World ; so in V. 620. 


418. opacous, gloomy, because hung in Chaos. 

419, 420. first convex, the Primum Mobile or tenth sphere, formed 
of solid matter (cf. " firm," 418), and serving as the outer shell of the 
World, and so dividing from Chaos the nine other spheres ( = "luminous 
inferior orbs ") which are inside. See Appendix, p. 666. 

422, 423. The Universe was so vast that its spherical shape was 
only perceptible from a distance ; standing on its surface, Satan might 
have supposed it to be a plain. Cf. II. 1047, 1048. 

429. glimmering; a favourite epithet of Tennyson; it suggests 
the faint light of early morning (n. 1037, Nat. Ode, 75) and twilight 
(i. 182, II Penseroso, 27). The latter use is Gray's (Elegy, 5, "the 
glimmering landscape" recalling Macbeth, in. 3. 5). 

430. at large, freely, without restraint ; cf. I. 790. 

431 39. Upon the geography see Appendix, pp. 683, 684. The 
elaborate form of the simile is very characteristic. Like Vergil, M. often 
works a simile out in all its bearings. Here the comparison is very 
apposite ; the vulture = Satan ; the flocks = mankind, Satan's prey; the 
barren plains = the "continent" where he alighted. Addison dwells 
on the peculiar grandeur of Milton's similes, which almost always 
convey " some very great idea" "some glorious image or sentiment." 
Dante's similes, much more numerous than Milton's, are less classical 
in form, and often drawn from homely subjects ; sometimes he is very 
minute in the details. 

432. snowy. The name Imaus is cognate with the Sanskrit 
himavat, ' snowy,' and survives in Himalaya, ' the region of cold.' 

434. yeanling, newly born. 

435 436- Ganges or Hydaspes\ both have their "springs" (i.e. 
sources) in the Himalayas. Drummond mentions the two rivers, as 
typifying India or the East, in the same couplet of Forth Feasting. 
Hydaspes was the classical name for the modern Jhelum. The form 
of the line is a favourite with M. ; cf. 36, and I. 469, " Of Abbana 
and Pharphar, lucid streams." 

438, 439- Newton quotes from Heylyn's Cosmography (the best 
known English geographical work of the I7th century), "the country 
[China] is so plain [flat] and level, that they have carts and coaches driven 
with sails" ; and I find in Jonson's News from the New World'. " Herald. 
Yes, but the coaches... go only with wind. Chronicler. Pretty! like 
China waggons." The following is from Staunton's Embassy to China 
(1797), cited by Todd : " The custom mentioned by some old travellers, 
of the Chinese applying sails to carriages by land is still, in some 
degree, retained. [He then quotes Milton's lines and continues :] 

NOTES. 441 

Those cany waggons are small carts, or double barrows, of bamboo, 
with one large wheel between them. When there is no wind to favour 
the progress of such a cart, it is drawn by a man, who is regularly 
harnessed to it, while another keeps it steady from behind, besides 
assisting in pushing it forward. The sail, when the wind is favourable, 
saves the labour of the former of these two men. It consists only of a 
mat fixed between two poles rising from the opposite sides of the cart. 
This simple contrivance can only be of use when the cart is intended to 
run before the wind " (u. p. 76). 

The plural Chineses was in regular use during the iyth cent. ; 
cf. the title of a work published in 1606, "An exact Discourse of the 
East Indians as well as Chyneses and Jauans " (see New English Diet.). 

440. so ; Milton's constant manner of completing a simile. Cf. 
IV. 166, 192, 819. sea ; perhaps suggested by "sails" (439). 

444 97. The germ of the whole idea lies in Ariosto's Orlando 
Ftirioso, canto 34, of which M. himself translates several lines in Of 
Reformation (P. W. II. 383). The passage represents Astolfo, the 
English knight, as being taken up in Elijah's chariot into the moon and 
led by St John 

" Into a goodly valley, where he sees 
A mighty mass of things strangely confus'd, 
Things that on earth were lost, or were abus'd." 
M. says that there is (as people thought) a Paradise of Fools (496), the 
rubbish-heap of the Universe : only it is situated, not in the moon 
(459), but on this outside of the globe where Satan is walking. And 
from the interior of the World it is approached thus (481 86) : vain 
things and souls (448) mount upward from Earth past the ten spheres, 
reach the opening in the globe's surface, where the ladder leads up to 
Heaven (cf. 503 et seg.), and emerge on to the outside when, lo ! 
(486 89) cross-winds suddenly sweep them clean away from the ladder, 
and, whirled into space, they descend into their appointed Paradise, on 
the backside (494) of the globe. 

The almost burlesque satire of the passage seems scarce in keeping 
with the dignity of an epic; it has too the demerit of improbability. 
Probably Milton's main purpose was to introduce the attack on the 
Church of Rome, carefully placed at the end as a climax. Hardly less 
bitter, though less direct, are his assaults on the Church of England ; 
see IV. 193, note. He could have pointed to the precedent of Dante's 
invective against the Papacy, e.g. in the Purgalorio, xvi., and Paradise, 


Milton's brother Christopher became a Roman Catholic; see 
Hearne's Collections, Doble's ed., I. 288, 289, II. 63. 


For the Ariosto allusion see also Dryden's 2nd Prologue (1681) to 
the University of Oxford, lines i 6. 

444. store, plenty. " Store is no sore " (an old proverb). 

449. fond, foolish ; so fondly ' foolishly ' in 470. 

451 54. Mainly a sarcasm against priestcraft. M., like Lucretius, 
detested "superstition," classing it with "tyranny"; see n. 59, 

456. abortive, born before their time, unkindly, unnaturally. 

457. in vain, at random, without purpose (Richardson). 

459. some, viz. Ariosto. Cf. Pope, The Rape of the Lock y v. 113, 
114, referring to Belinda's tress : 

" Some thought it mounted to the Lunar sphere, 
Since all things lost on Earth are treasur'd there." 

460, 461. Apparently M. thought that the moon is inhabited ; 
cf. viii. 140 58. translated saints, e.g. Enoch (Gen. v. 24), Elijah 
(2 Kings ii.). middle ; explained in the next line. 

463 65. He means the "mighty men. of renown," who 
were born of the "sons of God " and " the daughters of men " (Gen. vi. 
4). In XI. 621 25 M. identifies the "sons of God" with the pious 
descendants of Seth ; in v. 447 and P. /?. u. 178, 179 he regards them 
as angels. Gen. vi. 4 has been interpreted in both ways, Dryden may 
have recollected these lines; cf. The Hind and the Panther, I. 

466, 467. See the fuller reference to the building of Babel, XH. 
38 62. Sennaar=Shina.r (Gen. xi. 2). M. uses the Vulgate form of 
the name ; the Septuagint has Sevadp. -^ 

469 71. Empedocles, a Greek philosopher of Agrigentum in 
Sicily ; * flourished ' about B.C. 444. " He threw himself into the flames 
of Mount ^Etna, that by his sudden disappearance he might be believed 
to be a god; but. ..the volcano threw up one of his sandals and thus 
revealed the manner of his death " (Classical Dictionary). 

sEtna ; this adjectival use of names (to avoid *s followed by s) is 
common in Shakespeare; cf. "Philippi fields," Julius Casar, v. 5. 19. 

471 73. Cleombrotus, a philosopher of Ambracia in Epirus ; 
according to the legend, he drowned himself after reading Plato's 
description of Elysium in the Phado, in order that he might exchange 
this life for a better, too long, i.e. to tell. 

474. embryos, beings in an immature, undeveloped state. He 
uses embryon for the adjective ; cf. n. 900, vii. 277. eremites = 
hermits ; from Gk. ^17^7175, ' a dweller in a desert ' (Gk. tp-qfJLla}. 

friar=*Fr. frere (d.frere in Chaucer), the distinguishing title of the 
mendicant orders, of which, till the I5th century, there were four; cf. 

NOTES. 443 

Chaucer, Prologue, 210, " alle the ordres foure." M. mentions three, the 
fourth being the Augustinian hermits or Austin Friars. 

475. white, the Carmelites, so called after Mt Carmel, where the 
crusader Berthold established the order, about 1156. They wear a 
white cloak. 

black, the Dominicans, an order of preaching friars (Fratres Preedi- 
cantes) founded in 1215 by St Dominic, a Spaniard; cf. 479. A long 
black mantle or cappa forms part of their dress. 

grey, the Franciscans, founded in 1209 by St Francis of Assisi ; cf. 
480. They wear a grey gown of coarse cloth what M. in his In 
Quintum Novembris, 8r, 82, calls cineracea vestis, i.e. ash-coloured. 

From their respective garbs the three orders were known in England 
as the White Friars, the Black Friars, and the Grey Friars. 

476, 477. An allusion to the pilgrimages in the Middle Ages, 
to the tomb of Christ in the garden (John xix. 41) of the place 
Golgotha, where Christ was crucified. 

478 80. Alluding to the belief that even laymen, if they died in 
friars' robes ("weeds") would pass into Heaven (Masson). 

481 83. To understand these lines one must know something about 
the Ptolemaic cosmology ; see Appendix, pp. 664 66. 

A close parallel is Donne's Progress of the Soul, in which he describes 
how the soul ascends through the air, passes the planets (he names 
them) one after another, and so reaches Heaven. 

481. the fixed, i.e. stars, set in the eighth sphere = Ccelum Stellatum. 
Note that ' stars,' not ' sphere,' is the word understood : the stars in this 
sphere are fixed, but the sphere itself revolves nay, is marked by the 
rapidity of its revolution (cf. V. 176, " orb that flies "). 

482, 483. i.e. that sphere which with its balance determines the 
amount of the swaying motion (" trepidation ") so much talked about. 
See the notes on vin. 130 40. 

that, the well-known, Lat. ille. Scan crystalline. 

talked, talked of; this contemptuous word rather implies that M. 
did not believe in the theory of the " trepidation." 

that first moved, the Primum Mobile, or tenth sphere ; cf. The 
Death of a Fair Infant, 39, "that high first-moving sphere." 

484, 485. Intended as a sneer (cf. the depreciatory word "wicket ") 
at the Roman Catholic doctrine of ' the power of the keys ' ; cf. Mat. 
xvi. 19, " And I will give unto thee [Peter] the keys of the kingdom 
of heaven." M. discusses the subject in The Christian Doctrine, I. 29. 
Other references to it in his works are Lycidas, 108 n ; In Quintum 
Novembris, 101 ; and Areopagitica,vfhere, ridiculing the Roman Catholic 
censorship of publications and the Papal imprimatur ', he says: "as if 


St Peter had bequeathed them the keys of the press also as well as of 
Paradise!" (P. W. II. 60). 

485 89. For a parallel to this idea see the extract from the English 
Faust-book (1592) in the Appendix, p. 663. 

488. transverse, in a cross-direction, aside. 

489. devious, out of their course; the epithet is transferred (by 
hypallage} from them to air (cf. 147). 

49 93' Al1 terms specially associated with the Roman Catholic 
Church, reliques, relics, like the remains of the bodies or clothes of 
Saints and Martyrs ; Lat. reliquia. See the Prayer- Book, " Articles 
of Religion," xxn. beads, of the rosary, indulgences, such as the 
Roman Church grants, dispenses, dispensations, pardons, absolutions. 
bulls, papal edicts ; so called from the round leaden seal, bulla. 

493. the sport ; alluding to sEneid VI. 74, 75, where tineas begs 
of the Sibyl : 

" But oh ! commit not thy prophetic mind 

To flitting leaves, the sport of every wind" 
(ludibria ventis) Dryden. 

495. limbo, region. 

496. Paradise of Fools ; a proverbial phrase ; cf. Romeo and Juliet, 
II. 4. 176- 

501. travelled', some interpret ' tired. ' 

502. degrees, steps ; cf. Julius C<zsar, II. i. 25, 26. 

510. Gen. xxviii. n 17. Probably Milton's notion of a stair 
connecting the Universe with Heaven was suggested by Jacob's dream ; 
cf. the Paradiso, XX I. There is some verbal likeness (and possibly the 
same Scriptural allusion) in a cancelled passage of Comus, after line 


"I see yee visibly & while I see yee 
this dusky hollow is a paradise 
& heaven gates ore my head." 

516. mysteriously, i.e. had a mystic, allegorical meaning. 

517, 518. i.e. was drawn up and became "viewless" ( = unseen). 
518 22. He means the Crystalline sphere = the "wide Crystalline 

ocean" (vn. 271), "the glassy sea" (vn. 619), which the angels 
behold through the opening (cf. 526 28) in the surface of the Uni- 
verse as they stand at Heaven's gate and look down the stairs (vu. 
6!y j^). M. has already said that souls ascending Heavenward 
from Earth must pass this sphere (482). 

521. wafted, carried : like Lazarus (Luke xvi. 22). 

522. rapt, caught up: like Elijah (2 Kings ii. 11). Cf. P. R. II. 
16, 17. 



326 30,. This is the only opening in the surface of the outer 
shell (Primum Mobile) of the Universe. 

527. i.e. immediately above the site of the Garden of Eden. 

530. though that, i.e. the second passage mentioned in 531. The 
Old Testament often speaks of angels visiting the Earth, and here we are 
told that there were two aerial paths for their descent, one leading 
straight down from Heaven on to Mount Sion, the other extending over 
the whole Promised Land. 

534. his eye, viz. passed, choice regard, careful watch, look. 

535, 536. i.e. "from Dan even to Beer-sheba " = from N. to S. of 
Canaan. Paneas, the later Greek name of Dan, a little S. of Mount 
Hermon, at the foot of which the Jordan has its chief source. 

The form Beersaba, instead of ' Beer^eba,' illustrates M.'s avoidance 
of the sound sh in proper names; cf. I. 398, note. He often uses the 
Septuagint or Vulgate form. The Septuagint has l$ijp<rap&, the Vulgate 

540. on the lower stair, at the bottom of the stairs. 

541. scaled, ascended like a ladder (Lat. scala). 

546. obtains, attains to, reaches (obtinet). 

547. discovers, unfolds; Fr. decouvrir. 

549. Was M. recalling to memory one of the Italian cities visited 
on that tour in 1638 39 to which his thoughts reverted so gladly? 
Perhaps Florence on which he had looked down from Fiesole (see I. 
289, 290, notes); or, yet more likely, Rome. The epithet "glistering" 
suggests an Italian scene. Cf. the famous description in P. R. of im- 
perial Rome and the "glittering spires" of the Palatine (iv. 54). 

551. To complete the sense, understand some words like "he (the 
scout) is seized with wonder " (Keightley). 

552. though after, i.e. although he was familiar with the splendours 
of Heaven. For the Latinism (post ccelwn visum) cf. I. 573. 

555 57- Standing at the topmost point of the globe, just at the 
opening, Satan can survey the whole interior of the Universe from E. 
to W. (55760), and from N. to S. (560, 561). 

He is far above the night that we know on Earth simply because he 
is far above the sun. circling, surrounding, canopy ; used somewhat 
similarly, of the sky in general, in Hamlet, II. 2. 311, and Coriolanus, 
iv. 5. 41. Cf. "cope" in iv. 992. 

558 60. the fleecy star, Aries, the Ram exactly opposite in the 
Zodiac (in the west) to Libra, the Balance (in the east). M. says that 
the constellation Andromeda is borne by Aries because it lies above 
Aries in the sky, though rather to the west, the horizon, i.e. of this 


No poet, I think, conveys a sense of vast distance so acutely as does 
Milton, perhaps from his blindness, and these lines are a signal example 
of his gift ; excelling perhaps in the suggestion of sheer remoteness and 
space even the simile of the ships (n. 636 43). 

562. first region, i.e. the uppermost of the three "regions" (a 
technical term) into which medkeval physicists supposed the air to be 
divided; it was distinguished by the pure dry heat of its atmo- 

563. and winds. In his downward flight Satan has passed through 
two spheres, the Primum Mobile and Crystalline. Now he is in the 
Calum Stellatum, moving up and down (cf. "oblique way") among the 
host of fixed stars (cf. 481). Till 573 we must picture him in this 

564. marble, lucid, bright as marble = marmoreus ; cf. Cymbeline, 
v. 4. 120, "the marble pavement," i.e. the sky, heavens. 

565. 566. i.e. that at a distance seemed to be stars. A Greek idiom. 

567. happy isles= those Islands of the Blessed, to which, according 
to an early Greek belief, favoured mortals passed without dying. Later 
these Fortunate? Insulce came to be identified with islands off the west 
coast of Africa (probably the Canaries). One of Ben Jonson's Masques 
is called "The Fortunate Isles." 

568. i.e. the gardens (cf. Comus, 981 83, P. X. II. 357) in which 
grew the golden apples (iv. 250, Comus, 393 97) guarded by the 
daughters of Hesperus and the dragon Ladon. The Hesperidum Insiila 
in which the gardens were commonly placed by writers have been 
identified with the Cape de Verde islands (so perhaps by M. himself in 
vin. 631, 632). There is a hitherto unpublished poem, of some length, 
on The Hesperides by Tennyson, in his Life, and lines 981 83 of 
Comus are prefixed to it as motto. 

571. above, more than not 'over,' connoting place, since the 
sphere of the sun is below the sphere of the fixed stars ; in fact, being 
the middle one of the spheres of the seven planets (cf. Troilus and 
Cressida, i. 3. 89 91), it is separated from the Calum Slellatum by 
three spheres, viz. those of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars (in that order). 

574 76. Newton explains: up or down, north or south; by 
centre or eccentric^ towards the centre, or from the centre...^ longitude, 
east or west (cf. IV. 539). Other editors note (i) that M. leaves it 
undetermined whether the sun (cf. vin. 122, 123) or the Earth is the 
centre of the Universe, i.e. whether the Copernican or Ptolemaic 
astronomy is right: (2) that he makes longitude ts&\. to west, and 
breadth (561), i.e. latitude = nor\h to south : a use which we just reverse. 

577. aloof, apart from; rare as preposition. 

NOTES. 447 

580, 581. numbers, measures = Lat. numeri used of the measures 
of a dance. See vm. 123 25. 

compile days etc. ; cf. Genesis i. 14. Plato speaks of the planets 
as created by the Deity ets 5iopi<r/j,6v KO.L <f>v\aK7]v api.dnuv -^povov, "f r 
defining and preserving the numbers of time," Timaus 38 c. 

586. virttie, efficacy; cf. 608. A favourite word with Dante ; cf. the 
Paradiso, II. 68, 70, 113, 139. the deep, the lowest part of the Universe. 

58890. Probably he is thinking of Galileo, who in 1609 con- 
structed a telescope ("optic tube") by which the spots on the solar disc 
were perceptible. See I. 288, note. 

tube ; the common i yth century word for the telescope ; cf. Marvell's 
Satires (" To the King ") : 

"So his bold tube man to the sun applied, 

And spots unknown in the bright star descried." 
Sir Thomas Browne says : " Let intellectual tubes give thee a glance of 
things which visive organs reach not" (Christian Morals, in. xiv.). 

592. The First and Second Eds. have medal here, but metal 

in 595- 

593. informed^ pervaded by, filled, inspired with. In this sense, 
which does not occur elsewhere in M., inform became one of the 
stereotyped, poetic words of the i8th century. 

594. glowing iron, i.e. ' like iron glowing with fire.' 

596 98. chrysolite... ruby. Exodus xxviii. 1720. In verse 20 the 
Heb. tarshish, rendered "beryl " in the A.V., is a chrysolite according 
to the Septuagint and Vulgate ; and in verse 17 the margin of the A.V. 
has "ruby" instead of "sardius." 

to, to the full number of the twelve. 

600. that stone " the philosopher's stone " ; cf. The Hind and the 
Panther, u. 112, 113. 

601. philosophers, alchemists, who tried to compose a stone which 
would transmute other metals into gold. Cf. Reginald Scot, Discoverie 
of Witchcraft, 1584, xiv. u, speaking of alchemists, "Now you must 
understand that the end and drift of all their worke is, to atteine unto 
the composition of the philosopher's stone, called Alixer" : i.e. 

602. 603. bind... Hermes, solidify and fix mercury or quicksilver. 
Cf. Ben Jonson's Mercury Vindicated from the Alchemists ; the scene is 
"a Laboratory or Alchemist's- workhouse," Mercury appears, and 
Vulcan as the chief alchemist cries out "Stay, see! our Mercury 
is coming forth... call forth our philosophers [cf. 601]. He will be 
gone, he will evaporate... Precious golden Mercury, be fixt : be not so 
volatile /" And later (speaking to his assistants) : "Begin your charm, 


sound music, circle him in, and take him: if he will not obey, bind 

Hermes ; the Greek name of Mercury (Lat. Mercurius}. 

603605. old Proteus', the prophetic old man of the sea (d'Xtos 
ytpwv). To escape prophesying, he would transform himself into 
"various shapes" (cf. Protean = ' shifting, changeable'); but when he 
was firmly seized, as by Menelaus (Odyssey IV. 454, 455) and Aristaeus 
(Georgic iv. 437 40), he would return to "his native form" and 
foretell the future. Milton uses this legend to illustrate the processes 
of alchemists : the matter on which they experiment is, like Proteus, 
transformed by being drained through alembics ( = ' limbecs') or stills, 
till at last they restore it to its original ("native ") form. 

call up. According to legend, no one had this power over 
Proteus : he only issued from the sea of his own accord, at midday, 
to sleep on the shore. But, to emphasise the "powerful art" of the 
alchemists, M. suggests that they might even summon up Proteus at 
their will. 

606. here, in the sun : if the sun's heat can produce such marvellous 
effects on the far-off Earth (61 1), how much more on its own orb ! The 
sun is compared with an alchemist in King John, in. i. 77 80 (Newton). 

607, 608. breathe,.. elixir , i.e. exhale a force similar to that life- 
prolonging force or principle called elixir vita, which the alchemists 
believed to be contained in a tincture of gold called auntni potabile 
= the "potable gold" of 608. 

610. i.e. though mixed with moisture which weakens his power. 

611. here, on Earth, in the dark, underground, precious things, 
precious stones, metals. "It was the belief of those times that these 
were produced by the influence of the sun" (Keightley). Cf. Dryden's 
Annus Mirabilis, st. 3, with his footnote: "Precious stones at first 
are dew condensed, and hardened by the warmth of the sun or sub- 
terranean fires." Dryden's editor in the Clarendon Press Series gives 
other references (p. 244). The idea seems to be present in Pope's Moral 
Essays, I. 141 48, II. 785 92, and Collins's Ode to Liberty (end). 

613. gaze; often transitive; cf. V. 272, vm. 258. Similarly the 
noun is used in the sense of a thing gazed at; cf. Macbeth, v. 8. 23, 24 : 

"Then yield thee, coward, 

And live to be the show and gaze o' the time." 
616 19. "Where Satan was, i.e. on the Sun itself, all was 
sunshine without visible shadow, just as, on Earth, at the equator at 
noon, the Sun's beams striking vertically downwards, in the self-same 
manner that they were now shooting directly upwards, cause opaque 
objects to have no slanting shadow round them" (Masson). 

NOTES. 449 

617. This position of the sun is technically called his culmination. 

620. visual ray = ' power of seeing ' ; light which makes sight possible 
is put for sight itself. Cf. S. A. 163. 

623. "And I saw an angel standing in the sun," Rev. xix. 17. 
Young (Night Thoughts) says, "A Christian dwells, like Uriel, in the 
sun. " 

62528. Cf. The Passing of Arthur, 38486: 

"the light and lustrous curls 
That made his forehead like a rising sun 
High from the dais-throne"; 
and CEnone : 

"his sunny hair 

Cluster'd about his temples like a God's." 
Tennyson has it too in Tithonus. 

tiar, crown, illustrious, bright (Lat. illustris). fledge, feathered. 

628. charge, office, duty ; cf. 688. 

634. casts, plans; perhaps the metaphor of cast=* calculate.' 

637. i.e. not very young, yet youthful-looking (638) ; or 'not one 
of the great Cherubim' (prime 'chief'). 

643, 644. habit, dress, Lat. habitus ; probably in apposition to 
wings, as Milton's angels are always "feathered" (v. 284), not clothed 
(Newton), succinct, literally 'girt up'; hence 'ready, prepared,' taken 
with habit =" wings." decent, graceful, becoming. 

648, 649. In the chapter (l. 9) of The Christian Doctrine on angels, 
M. says, "Seven of these, in particular, are described [i.e. in Scripture] 
as traversing the earth in the execution of their ministry." They are 
"the seven angels which stood before God," Rev. viii. 2, "the seven 
Spirits which are before his throne," Rev. i. 4. Of these Uriel was 
one. He is mentioned four times in i Esdras, and in three places 
(iv. i, v. 20, x. 28) is called "Uriel the angel," but in the fourth (iv. 36) 
"Uriel the archangel." That he was "regent of the sun" (690) and 
dispenser of heat was a tradition, due probably to his name which 
signifies 'the fire of God.' Thus Heywood says that the four quarters 
of the world are assigned to the government of four angelic beings, and 
" The South, whence Auster comes, rules Uriel " (Hierarchic of the 
Blessed Angells, 1635 ed., p. 214). There is a passage to the same 
effect in Scot's Discotirse on Devils (1584), Nicholson's ed., p. 527. 
Cf. too Henry More (Song of the Soul, Cambridge ed., 1647, p. 53): 
" The fiery scorching shafts which Uriel 
From Southern quarter darted with strong hand." 

650 53. "Those seven: they are the eyes of the LORD, which 
run to and fro through the whole earth," Zechariah iv. 10. 

P. L. 29 


654. The sentence introduces Satan's reason for asking information 
of Uriel: he does so because Uriel, as chief "interpreter" of God, is 
likely to know about the new Universe and its inhabitants. But strictly 
the sense is never completed; it takes a fresh turn in 662. 

655. Only these seven archangels may come so near to the 

656. authentic, authoritative, because received at first-hand, i.e. 
from God himself. Gk. ayfl^TTjs, 'one who does a thing himself.' 

65 7 658. Uriel brings the command of God to the inferior angels, 
\vho await it at a distance, attend '; cf. 270. 

659. here, in the sun. 

667. Seraph; strictly not applicable to Uriel (an archangel). 

670. i.e. but hath his choice to dwell in all these orbs. 

674. graces, favours, marks of grace. 

681. unperceived, not discovered, undetected. 

686 89. A fine and just allegory that a wise man may be 
deceived through the very greatness of his nature : for he is filled with 
high thoughts, not mean suspicions: which makes him trust his fellow- 
men, and credit them with being as honest and true as himself. 

Had M. not dwelt on the power of hypocrisy it might have seemed 
strange to us that even Uriel should be deceived (Newton). 

699. M. always accents empyreal (but empyrean). 

704. had in remembrance', a Scriptural phrase; Acts x. 31. 

708. / saw. Uriel must have been among the angels who ac- 
companied Messiah when he went forth to create the World, VII. 
192 215. This rapid sketch (708 21) prepares us for the full 
narrative of the creation in book vn. ; such links betwean the different 
books are an important element in the construction of the whole. The 
lines reveal the influence of Plato's account of the creation (Ttmaus) 
and of Ovid's description of Chaos {Metamorphoses I. 5 et seq.}. For 
Milton's knowledge of the Tinuzus cf. v. 580 82, note. 

709. this World's material mould, i.e. the substance whereof the 
World was made, being matter in its primal state ; see V. 471, 

712. his,.. bidding, viz. "Let there be light," Gen. i. 3. 

713. order from disorder. Els rd^tv avrb -tjyayev K rijs dramas, 
Plato, Timaus 30 A; id ex inordinato in ordinem adduxit, Cicero, De 
Universo 3 (a translation of parts of the Timaus). Compare the discourse 
on order in canto I. of the Paradiso, e.g. 103105 : "All things what- 
soever observe a mutual order ; and this is the form that maketh the 
universe like unto God " ; also xxix. 2233. See also Bacon, The 
Advancement of Learning, n. 25. 20. 

NOTES. 451 

715. i.e. the four elements or constituent parts of which all things 
were thought to consist. See n. 274, 275, 898, notes. 

cumbrous \ the epithet points the difference between them and the 
"ethereal" fifth element. Cf. Batman (1582), "Heaven is the fift 
Element, severed from the nether Elements, and distinguished by 
propertie of kinde: for it is not heavie, for then it might come 
downward" (p. 120). flood, water. 

716. M. refers to Aristotle's conception of a fifth element called 
"ether, "and he introduces the two main points of Aristotle's theory: 
(i) that "the ether fills the celestial spaces, and of it the spheres and 
stars are made" (cf. 718, 721); (2) that "the nature of the ether... 
adapts it especially for circular motion " (cf. " orbicular," 718), 
whereas the motion of the four elements is vertical, up and down. 
Ueberweg, from whose summary of Aristotle's views the foregoing 
quotations are made, says, "Ether is the first element in rank 
[i.e. according to Aristotle]; but if we enumerate, beginning with the 
elements directly known by the senses, it is the fifth, the subsequently 
so-called TT^TTTOV arQi-xeiov , quinta essential 

It is disputed whether this "fifth essence" ought to be called an 
element, since it lacks the principle of contraries that belongs to the 
four elements; and M. does not apply the title "element" to it. 
Practically he identifies the "fifth essence" or "ether" with Light 
(cf. VII. 243, 244), though "ether" (Gk. aid-fa, from aftteu', 'to glow') 
rather implies very bright atmosphere. 

Heaven, sky; cf. a definition of "ether" cited by G. H. Lewes 
from an Alexandrian treatise: "Ether is the substance of the heavens 
and the stars j so named because of its eternal circular motion " (an 
allusion to the false derivation of aid-rip from ad, * always ' + 6eiv, ' to run '). 

717. spirited, animated. 

718. orbicular ; with circular motion. 

721. i.e. what remained of the ether after the stars were made. 

730. See vn. 375 78, and cf. Hamlet, in. 2. 167, "moons with 
borrowed sheen"; and Drummond, Flowers of Sion : 

"The moon moves lowest, silver sun of night, 
Dispersing through the world her borrowed light." 

triform, referring to the three phases of the moon crescent, full and 
waning. But there is also an allusion to Lat. triformis as an epithet 
of the moon indicating her threefold capacity as Luna, Diana and 
Hecate; cf. Horace's diva triformis ; Od. in. 22. 4. So in Ben 
Jonson's Masque of Queens the moon is addressed as "thou three- 
formed star... to whose triple name... we incline"; cf. A Midsummer- 
Night's Dream, V. 391, "By the triple Hecate's team." 

29 2 


737. Cf. v. 360, "As to a superior nature, bowing low." 

739. coast, region; as often in M. 

740. the ecliptic, i.e. "as then understood, the Sun's orbit round 
the Earth" (Masson). 

741. 742. An instance of Milton's power of making the sound 
an echo to the sense. The rapid movement of the latter half of 741 
conveys an impression of Satan's swift descent, while the slow, 
measured rhythm of 742 suggests rest. 

Niphates, ' the snowy range ' ; a mountain of Armenia, part of 
the Taurus range on the borders of Assyria (iv. 126). 


This book has been described as "the most varied of all in interest 
and beauty." It introduces, at last, " Man, the central figure of the 
Epic," and straightway (i 8) " raises the horror and attention of the 

i, 2. O for, i.e. would that that voice had sounded, he who, St 
John. See Rev. xii. 12, " Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the 
sea ! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath." Apo- 
calypse, revelation, * uncovering '; Gk. avb, 'off ' + /fa\tfirTi', 'to cover.' 

heard cry, i.e. the words " Woe to the inhabitants on Earth ! " 

3. then when ; M. uses this emphatic phrase often ; cf. 838, 970. 
the Dragon, Satan; cf. "The old Dragon," Nativity Ode, 168. The 
title is from Rev. xii. 7 and means ' Serpent ' (Gk. fydicwv). 

10. i.e. the tempter before he was the accuser. Cf. Rev. xii. 10, 
" the accuser of our brethren is cast down." The word devil is a cor- 
ruption of Greek SicijSoXos, 'slanderer,' from 8tapd\\etv t 'to slander.' 

n, 12. These lines give the main motive of Satan's action against 
man. wreak... his loss, avenge himself for his loss. 

12, 13. Contrast in. 740. The nearer Satan approaches to the 
scene of his task the more he realises its enormity and peril, and the 
less his confidence becomes. 

2023. For this conception of Hell cf. 75 78 and see i. 254, 255. 

24, 25. i.e. rouses the memory of what he was and the thought 
(understood from memory) of what he is and will be. So Samson 
Agonistes is beset by thoughts of "Times past, what once I was, and 
what am now," S. A. 22. In both passages, but more particularly in 

NOTES. 453 

the line in S. A., the influence is clear of Dante's famous words : 
" There is no greater pain than to recall a happy time in wretchedness," 
Inferno, v. 121 23. It has been shown that Dante paraphrased the 
sentiment (an obvious one) from Boethius' De Consolatione Philosophic, 
and that Chaucer (Troilus and Cresside) had anticipated Milton in 
imitating Dante; the latter being "the poet" of Tennyson's familiar 
couplet in Locksley Hall : 

"This is truth the poet sings 

That a sorrow's crown of sorrow is remembering happier things." 
See also Sir Thomas Browne, Christian Morals , n. x. Classical 
parallels have been found in Pindar and Thucydides. 

25. what must be worse, i.e. how he must become worse. One of 
the most powerful features of Paradise Lost is the presentment of the 
gradual debasement and decline of Satan as the evil he works against 
man masters himself "back recoils." 

27,28. Eden... pleasant. "Eden " means ' pleasure.' Cf. 132. 

31. much revolving, pondering many things (tnulta volvens). The 
speech that follows throws much light on Milton's conception of 

32 41. The lines written as early as 1642; see Introduction. 
Addison considered this speech (32 113) " the finest ascribed to Satan 
in the whole poem." 

35. One of the most familiar quotations from Milton. Cf. Pope, 
Epistles, in. 281, 282: 

" Blush, Grandeur, blush ! proud Courts, withdraw your blaze ! 

Ye little stars ! hide your diminished rays." 

37 39- Before his fall Satan was lustrous as the sun itself: now 
his splendour is faded and wan (835 40, 870). 

40. worse ; because it adds fuel to the flame of pride (Hume). 

43. In bk. V. when he is inciting the angels to rebel Satan pretends 
that he and they are " self-begot, self-raised " (860), i.e. not created by 
the Almighty and so not justly his servants; cf. I. 1 16. 

45. upbraided, reproached; cf. James i. 5. 

50. sdeinedy disdained. 

51. quit, pay off, settle. Burke (who quotes Milton much) speaks 
of "the immense, ever-growing, eternal debt, which is due to generous 
Government from protected freedom " Conciliation with America 
(Payne's ed., p. 230). 

55 57. On the one hand, true gratitude is in itself payment : on 
the other, a grateful man, though he may formally have discharged his 
debt, still retains a sense of indebtedness to his benefactor. Bentley 
compared Cicero's sentiment, gratiam autem et qui retulerit habere t et 


qui habeat rdidisse (De Officiis II. 20), i.e. he who has repaid an 
obligation is still conscious of it, and he who is conscious of an obliga- 
tion has repaid it. 

66, 67. Cf. in. 102. 

73. me miserable I Latin me miserum! 

79. Satan addresses himself; or possibly the Almighty. 

79, 80. Cf. Hebrews xii. 17, "he found no place of repentance." 

81, 82. i.e. disdain forbids me (to use) that word "submission." 

84. other,.. other ; see X. 861, 862, note. 

87. abide, suffer for. 

90. advanced, raised to eminence ; it qualifies me in 89. Cf. 359. 

94. act of grace, doing penance, asking pardon (cf. Fr. grace}. 

97. violent^ extorted by compulsion, void, of no effect, null. 
Burke quotes these lines, 96, 97, with fine effect in his speech on Concilia- 
tion with America just before the other Milton allusion (line 51, note). 

no. Just as evil is to be his good, so later (ix. 122, 123) he 
confesses, "all good to me becomes Bane" (i.e. evil). 

112. bythee ; repeated for emphasis, more than half', since he rules 
Hell already and hopes to rule the World, thus leaving the Almighty 
only Heaven. Cf. x. 375 382. 

114, 115. i.e. each of the three passions anger, envy, despair 
dimmed his face which was three times changed with the paleness caused 
by them. Cf. such expressions as 'pale with anger,' 'pale with envy.' 
Newton notes that for ire the Argument of the book has fear, 
passion ; used by M., as by Shakespeare, of any strong emotion, deep 
feeling. pale= paleness. 

116. borrowed', see III. 634 44. 

118, 119. An allusion perhaps (as certainly in VI. 788, IX. 729, 
730) to JEneid I. n. Cf. The Faerie Queene, II. 8. i : 

"And is there care in heaven? And is there love 
In heavenly spirits to these creatures base?" 

123. couched with, united with ; it implies lying hid (Fr. couche). 

124 30. Cf. Uriel's words, 564 75. 

126. the Assyrian mount, Niphates; see in. 742. 

132. Eden... Paradise. Masson says: "Eden is the whole tract or 
district of Western Asia [see 210 14] wherein the Creator has designed 
that men should first dwell; Paradise is the Happy Garden [208 10] 
situated in one particular spot of this Eden on its eastern side." Cf. 
Gen. ii. 8, "God planted a garden eastward in Eden." Paradise^ 
Gk. irapctSeuros, 'a park'; a word of Persian origin. 

134. champain head, an open, level summit of open land. 

The garden occupies a plateau or table-land, circular in shape (vin. 

NOTES. 455 

304) and surrounded by a grassy mound or wall (143). On the inner 
side of this mound is a circling row of fruit trees ; their tops are visible 
from the outside. On the outer side of the mound the hill slopes steep 
down, covered with shrubs and trees, the tops of which, though lofty, 
are below the level of the mound and so do riot obstruct Adam's view 
from it over the plain beneath. 

This idea of setting the Garden on the summit of a hill is traced to 
Ezekiel xxviii. 13, 14, "Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God... 
thou wast upon the holy mountain of God. " Dante and Ariosto had 
previously given the Garden a similar site (Keightley). 

Thus when Adam meets and converses with Dante in Paradise, he 
says that he was placed by God "in the uplifted Garden" (nelV eccelso 
giardino) Paradise, xxvi. 109, no. See also the Purgatorio, xxvin., 
where Dante reaches and describes the Garden, which crowns the 
summit of the Mount of Purgatory an obvious piece of symbolism. 
Collins has the allusion in the striking passage about Milton, in his Ode 
on the Poetical Character, 3. 

138, 139. Cf. 693, 694. The second line is intended to suggest 
variety. Cf. II. 621. 

140. ranks ; like the ascending tiers of seats in an amphitheatre ; 
cf. P. R. II. 794. Perhaps Vallombrosa was in Milton's thoughts; 
see I. 303, 304 (note). Verbally ("sylvan scene") there is just a 
suggestion of ^Eneid I. 164, 165. 

151. Cf. Comus, 992, " Iris there with humid bow" ( = the rainbow). 

153. landskip, landscape. 

of, after, following upon ; cf. Wordsworth, Recluse, " Happier of 
happy though I be." The idiom is modelled on the use of e/c in Greek 
and ex in Latin to express one condition following on another; cf. e.g. 
Tu0X6s iK. deSoptcbros (Sophocles, (Edipus Rex 454) or Horace's ex humili 
potens (Od. in. 30. 12). Cf. vin. 433, x. 7*<V723, xii. 167. 

156. gales ; the conventional i8th century word for a gentle wind, 
in poems like Gray's Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College 
(15 20) ; Collins's Eclogues. 

158. native, i.e. of the trees, flowers etc.; implying 'natural, not 

159 65. "The fragrance thus wafted out to sea, sometimes to a 
distance of twenty or more miles, is well known to every sailor who has 
been in the West Indies or in the Indian Archipelago" (Keightley). 
Editors quote various similar allusions in classical, Italian, and other 
writers, e.g. Waller (Night-piece] : 

"So we the Arabian coast do know, 
At distance, when the spices blow." 


Diodorus Siculus (in. 46) describes how in spring-time, when the 
wind is from the land, the fragrance of the myrrh and similar trees 
reaches the passing vessels, even far out to sea. Probably M. had 
this special description in mind, as it is removed only a few chapters 
from that account of Ammon and Amalthea which was the undoubted 
source of 275 79. 

161. Mozambic; more commonly Mozambique ; a Portuguese 
province on the east coast of Africa, opposite Madagascar. 

north-east ; rather north , according to modern geography. 

162. Sab<zan t of or from iSafo = Sheba. 

163. Araby the .#//= Gk. 'Apapla ij cvdai/jiw, Lat. Arabia Felix, 
each epithet indicating the fertility of the region. The notion of the 
fragrances and spices of Arabia myrrh, frankincense etc. is a com- 
monplace of poetry; cf. Lady Macbeth's famous "all the perfumes of 
Arabia will not sweeten this little hand " (v. i. 57, 58). 

166. so ; his favourite completion of a simile ; cf. 192, ill. 440. 

167 71. There is a similar allusion in V. 221 23 to the story of 
Tobias and the evil spirit Asmodeus told in the Apocryphal Book of 
Tobit. Tobias was sent on a journey by his father Tobit to fetch ten 
talents of silver deposited with a friend in Media. The angel Raphael 
appeared to Tobias in human form, acted as his guide, and bade him 
marry a Jewish maiden, Sara, who lived at Ecbatana in Media. Her 
seven husbands had been destroyed in succession by Asmodeus who 
was in love with her. To escape their fate, Tobias was instructed by 
Raphael to burn the heart and liver of a fish, since the smell ("fishy 
fume ") would drive away the spirit. This he did after his betrothal to 
Sara, and the plan succeeded: for Asmodeus "fled into the utmost 
parts of Egypt, and the angel bound him " (chap. viii.). 

Cf. Reginald Scot, Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584), speaking of 
burnt incense as a charm against evil spirits : ' ' wheresoever the fume 
or smoke thereof shall come, everie kind and sort of devils may be 
driven awaie, and expelled ; as they were at the incense of the liver of 
fish, which the archangel Raphael made" (bk. XV. chap. 18). Dante 
has the allusion, calling Raphael "him who made Tobias sound again " 
(Paradiso, IV. 48). Sir Thomas Browne thought the story not quite 
" naturally made out" (Vulgar Errors, I. TO). 

168. Asmodeus^ one of the rebellious angels expelled from Heaven; 
called by M. Asmadai in VI. 365 and Asmodai in P. R. u. 151 forms 
closer to the Heb. Aschmedai, ' the destroyer. ' He is thought to be 
connected with the Aeshmfr Daeva (an evil demon) of the ancient 
Persian religion. He is sometimes taken as a type of lust, perhaps 
through the story in the Book of Tobit; cf. P. R. II. 150 52, and 

NOTES. 457 

Tennyson, St Simeon Slylites, 159, "Abaddon and Asmodeus caught 
at me." 

1 70. with a vengeance', an intensive phrase, used here with a certain 
grim humour='in all speed.' Cf. Coriolanus, II. i. 6, "he's vengeance 
proud," i.e. intensely ; but there the use is more colloquial. 

172. savage, wild; cf. P. R. ill. 23, "savage wilderness." It is 
derived through the French from Lat. silvaticus, 'woody.' 

176. perplexed, made difficult (or entangled). 

177. that passed, i.e. that might have passed. 

181. bound... bound. Cf. i. 642 (with the note). Here Satan's 
contempt of the barrier is expressed. 

1 86. secure', implying a false sense of security; cf. Lat. securus. 

192. Cf. the parable of 'the Good Shepherd ,'/<?/&w x. 

193. One of Milton's prose-works was a treatise on "The Likeliest 
Means to remove Hirelings out of the Church" (1659). It seemed to 
him wrong that ministers of religion should receive salaries, and he was 
ever ready to bring the charge of avarice and love of lucre against the 
clergy of the Church of England. Cf. xn. 507 1 1, and the denuncia- 
tion (appropriately assigned to Saint Peter cf. i Pet. v. 2) in Lycidas 
of the false, greedy shepherds who "Creep, and intrude, and climb 
into the fold" (115). We must remember that he speaks as an enemy, 
a bitter enemy, of the English Church, lewd, base. 

194. the Tree of Life', Genesis ii. 9. 

196. i.e. in the shape of a cormorant, chosen because a ravenous 
bird of prey (cf. III. 431) and thus symbolical of Satan himself; cf. 
Richard II. II. i. 38, Coriolamis, i. i. 125. As a sea-bird it does not 
seem very appropriate in Paradise ; but cf. Isaiah xxxiv. 1 1 (where, 
however, 'pelican' is the correct rendering). 

198. virtue, efficacy; cf. 671 and see III. 586, note. 

199 201. well used. What use could Satan have made of the 
tree? He was already immortal. Perhaps M. means that if Satan had 
eaten of the tree's fruit its saving power might have given him true life 
a regeneration of spirit that, leading to repentance, would have enabled 
him to regain his true archangelic immortality. 

203. perverts', the subject is he understood from " before 

21014. According to these limits, which indicate, however, 
only its eastern and western points, Eden lay in Syria and Mesopotamia 
mainly in the latter. 

211. Auran, or Hatiran, a district of Syria, about 50 miles S. of 
Damascus ; Gk. Avpaviris. Probably M. remembered that it is men- 
tioned in Ezck. xlvii. 16, 18, as an eastern bound of Palestine. 


212. Seleucia', long the capital of Western Asia ; on the right bank 
of the Tigris, about 20 miles S.E. of the modern Bagdad ; sometimes 
called Seleucia ad Tigrin or Seleucia Babylonia. Here, and again in 
P.R. in. 291, M. terms it "great Seleucia" to distinguish it from other 
cities of the same name, such as the Seleucia near Antioch. It was 
built by Seleucus, a Macedonian who became one of Alexander's 
generals, and about 312 B.C. founded the dynasty of the Seleucidce, 
kings of Syria (cf. "Grecian kings"). 

213, 214. A second description of the site of Eden: it was in that 
region of Telassar (or Thelasar) where the "children of Eden" dwelt 
(2 Kings xix. 12, Isai. xxxvii. 12). They "appear from the Assyrian 
inscriptions to have inhabited the country on the east bank of the 
Euphrates, about the modern Balis. Here they had a city called 
Beth-Adina, which was taken by the Assyrians about B.C. 880 " 
(Speaker's Commentary). 

219. blooming, bearing luxuriantly. 

223. "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden," Gen. 
ii. 10. In IX. 71 73 M. identifies this river with the Tigris. 

224. shaggy ; as a wood-covered hill appears, seen sideways ; 
see VI. 645, note. 

22 5 35' The river flowing through Eden reaches the hill on the 
level summit (cf. 134) of which is Paradise. Part of the river goes 
straight through by a subterranean passage and issues in the plain 
(cf. 145) on the other side. But part of its water is drawn up through 
the hill to the surface in the form of a fountain, the waters of which 
become rills. These rills irrigate Paradise and then, uniting into a 
water-course, run down the "hairy side " (135) of the hill to join the rest 
of the river where it emerges from its underground channel. Then the 
whole river divides into four great streams. 

233. See Genesis ii. 1014; c ^- Tennyson's Enid'. 

"And never yet, since high in Paradise 
O'er the four rivers the first roses blew, 
Came purer pleasure unto mortal kind 
Than lived thro' her." 

Dante pictures " Euphrates and Tigris welling up from one spring, and 
parting like friends that linger " (Purgatorio, xxxill. 11214). 

234. wandering ; transitive; cf. XI. 779. 

236, 237. The original texts have a comma after tell (236), not 
after how in 237. Some modern texts reverse this punctuation; to the 
detriment of the rhythm, I think. 

sapphire, sapphire-coloured, i.e. light blue, fount, source; cf. ill. 
535. crisped, rippling; often used of wind ruffling the surface of 

NOTES. 459 

water; cf. Byron, Childe Harold, IV. 211, "I would not their vile 
breath should crisp the stream." See Comus, 984. 

239. error ; in the literal sense of Lat. error, 'a wandering.' Cf. 
Tennyson, Gareth, "The damsel's headlong error through the wood." 

241. nice, precise, fastidious. Supply some verb like ' set.' 

242. curious knots, plots of ground laid out in a fanciful style. 
boon, bounteous (Lat. alma). 

246. imbrowned, darkened ; an imitation of the Italian use. 

246, 247. thus was, i.e. such was seat being in apposition to place. 
Some editors change the construction by removing the comma after 
place, view, appearance, aspect. 

248. gums, i.e. aromatic resins like myrrh and balsam ( = balm], 
produced by the balsam-tree (f3a\<rafjt,6devdpov) and other trees of the 
same genus. See 630, V. 23. wept', cf. Othello, v. 2. 348 51. 

250. amiable, lovely; cf. "thy amiable cheeks," A Midsummer- 
Night's Dream, iv. 1.2; and Psalm Ixxxiv. i. 

250, 251. Hesperian... here only, "the stones told of the apples of 
the Hesperides being true only of this place, if at all." It is an absolute 
clause in parenthesis. For the allusion see in. 568, and cf. the cancelled 
passage (especially " fruits of golden rind ") at the beginning of Comus. 

252. lawns, glades, wide spaces clear of trees. 

255. irriguous, well-watered (Lat. irriguus). 

256. Thyer quotes Herrick, Noble Numbers : 

" Before man's fall the rose was born, 

Saint Ambrose says, without a thorn." 

Others of the Church Fathers held the same fancy, which seems to have 
been applied also to the fabulous gardens of Adonis (see ix. 439, 440, 
note) ; cf. Ben Jonson, Cynthia 's Revels, v. 3. 

Part of the curse (Genesis iii. 18) was that the earth should bring 
forth thorns and thistles ; hence the presumption that there were no 
thorns before Adam's sin (Newton). 

258. mantling vine ; Comus, 294. 

264. apply, either 'practise' or 'add.' 

266 68. An allegorical way of saying, with classical imagery, 
such as he had used in his fifth Latin Elegy (In Adventum Verts}, that 
in Eden only one season was known, viz. spring (see x. 678, 679, 
note), and that it was a time of universal luxuriance of growth and 
freshness. M. might well have had in mind some picture seen in 
Italy, e.g. Botticelli's famous "Spring." Cf. too the allegorical dance 
of the Virtues in the Purgatorio, xxix. 

Pan ; here regarded as the god of all nature, and called " universal " 
in allusion to his name (Gk. irav, 'all'). 


Graces, Lat. Gratia, Gk. x < *-P lT *s > three goddesses (Euphrosyne, 
Aglaia, Thalia) who personified the refinements and elevated joys of life. 

Hour s> Lat. Horce, Gk. upon ; goddesses personifying the seasons of 
the year; the course of the seasons was symbolically described as " the 
dance of the Hor& " (compare v. 394, 395). Classical writers often 
mention them along with the Graces. 

kd on; the metaphor of a dance; cf. Milton's Sonnet "To the 
Nightingale," 4, " While the jolly hours lead on propitious May." So 
in Collins's Persian Eclogues, ill. 39, 40. 

268. Cf. Marvell's pretty lines on the Bermudas : 
"He gave us this eternal spring, 
Which here enamels every thing." 

26887. He indicates the beauty of Paradise by saying that it 
surpassed various spots celebrated for their charm. In describing 
Nature, Milton "on most occasions calls learning to his assistance" 

26872. According to the classical legend, Proserpine was 
carried off by Pluto = Dis (270), to the nether world, unknown to her 
mother Ceres, and became his wife. Latin poets (e.g. Ovid, Fasti IV. 
421 62) made Enna in Sicily the scene of the incident, the worship 
of Ceres having been introduced into Rome from Sicily. 

Scan Proserpin, and cf. the Latin accent and form in ix. 396. 
Line 270 is echoed in ix. 432. Marvell in his poem Upon Appleton 
House says of his pupil in her garden : 

Seems with the flowers a flower to be." 

271. that, the well-known, Lat. ille\ so in 272, 275. 

272, 273. " Near the city of Antioch, on the Orontes, lay a grove 
sacred to Apollo, in which was a temple of the god, whence he gave 
oracles. It was named Daphne, and a spring which watered it was 
called the Castalian spring, after that at Delphi" (Keightley). 

27579- See Appendix, pp. 685, 686 ; and cf. P. R. n. 356. 

278. florid, ruddy, being the god of wine ; cf. Dryden, Alexander's 
Feast, 42, " Flushed with a purple grace " (said of Bacchus). 

280 85. Todd quotes Heylin : " the hill of Amara is a day's 
journey high, on the top whereof are thirty-four palaces in which the 
younger sons of the Emperor [i.e. of Abyssinia] are continually enclosed 
to avoid sedition ;... though not much distant from the Equator, if not 
plainly under it, yet [it is] blessed with such a temperate air that some 
have taken (but mistaken'] it for the place of Paradise" M. had clearly 
read this passage in Heylin, who seems to have been his chief authority 
in matters relating to the customs of foreign nations and geography. 

NOTES. 461 

The tradition with regard to the Abyssinian princes is used by 
Johnson in Rasselas, but he speaks of a single palace, and places it in 
a ' happy valley,' not on the top of a mountain. 

280, 281. Abassin, Abyssinian ; the Arabic name. 

Amara ; correctly Amhara ; it is rather a range of hills than a 
single "mount." 

282. Ethiop line, the equator. Ethiop ; the people of Abyssinia 
still call their land Utopia and themselves Itiopyavan. 

283. Shakespeare uses Nilus and Nile, head, source. 

288, 289. The repetition of " erect " is important, since M. treats 
man's stature as a symbol of his sovereignty over the " prone" beast- 
creation, vn. 506 10. 

M. "drew the portrait of Adam not without regard to his own 
person, of which he had no mean opinion" (Newton); and which he 
describes in the autobiographical part of his Second Defence of the People 
of England (P. W. I. 235, 236). 

291, 292. See Genesis i. 26, 27. 

295. whence ; it refers to " truth, wisdom, sanctitude " (i.e. holiness), 
these qualities, not birth and position, conferring true authority. Cf. 
Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France^ " There is no qualifica- 
tion for government, but virtue and wisdom, actual or presumptive" 
(Payne's ed. , p. 58). 

295 99. This relation of woman to man "not equal" runs 
throughout the scenes in which Adam and Eve are introduced. Johnson 
says, " Both before .and after the fall, the superiority of Adam is 
diligently sustained" (Life of Milton). Such lines as these and 635 38 
express Milton's personal conception of woman's status and capacities ; 
and how much it differed from modern views may be illustrated by 
the single fact that his treatise On Education makes no reference to 
the education of women. There is only a touch of exaggeration in 
Johnson's remark that Milton's works reveal "something like a Turkish 
contempt of females as subordinate and inferior beings " ; the contrast, 
in fact, between Puritan austerity and the exaggerated chivalry of the 
Cavaliers. See also ix. 823, note. 

God in him ; modified by Bentley to "God and\i\m. n 

300. front, forehead (Lat. frons) ; often in Shakespeare. 

301. hyacinthine; a classical epithet. Homer speaks of hair 
(K-O/-KXS) 'like to a hyacinth* (uaKtvOivijj avQei 6/xofas), Odyssey VI. 231. 
A dark colour, perhaps deep brown, seems implied. Milton's own hair 
was auburn ; the Bodleian Library has a lock of it, considered genuine. 

33 36- See i Cor. xi. 14 and 15 ("if a woman have long hair, it 
is a glory to her : for her hair is given her for a covering" in the margin, 


veil). Some think that M. was condemning as effeminate (cf. "but 
not beneath " etc.) the Cavalier fashion for men to wear the hair long. 

-wanton, unrestrained; cf. 629 and Arcades, 46, 47. 

307, 308. implied subjection; M. infers this from i Cor. xi. 8 15. 

310,311. coy, modest. The slow rhythm suggests "delay." This 
line is the obvious original of Collins's line " Reluctant pride, and 
amorous faint consent " ( Verses written on a Paper, etc.}. 

313. dishonest, unchaste; cf. "honest" in the Prayer- Book. 

314. honour dishonourable, Cf. Tennyson's famous line, "His 
honour rooted in dishonour stood " (Lancelot and Elaine). M. often uses 
this classical figure of speech called oxymoron by which two words 
connoting opposite ideas are closely associated. Cf. I. 63, n. 252. 
See i Cor. xii. 23, 24. 

323, 324. A famous example of an idiom often used by Elizabethan, 
as it had been by Greek, writers. It combines the comparative and 
superlative constructions thus : 'Eve fair-^r than all her daughters' + 
'Eve fair-^tf of all women.' So M. writes in Areopagitica, "this very 
opinion... is the worst and newest opinion of all others " (P. IV. II. 98) ; 
and Shakespeare in A Midsummer-Night's Dream, v. 250, " This is the 
greatest error of all the rest. " Examples in Bacon occur in The Advance- 
ment of Learning, i. 4. 8, and 5. n ; and Sir Thomas Browne has it in 
a curiously similar context ; cf. the Vulgar Errors, I. i, where he refers 
to Adam as (in the opinion of some) " the wisest of all men since." Its 
independent existence in Greek and English proves that the idiom, 
though illogical, is natural due perhaps to over-emphasis. It is just 
the sort of combined construction into which people slip in conversation. 

329. recommend, make pleasant. 

332. compliant ; probably in the rare sense 'pliant, easily bent,' 
due to the false derivation from Fr. plier, Lat. plicare ; the true 
etymological connection being with Ital. complire, Lat. complere. 

333. recline Lat. reclinis, 'reclining.' 

334. damasked, variegated. 
337- purpose, conversation. 

340 47. Contrast x. 710 14 (note). 

343. ramped, sprang. 

344. ounce, a lynx (felis uncia); from Persian yuz, 'a panther.' 
347. Note that the serpent is the most fully described (Newton). 
34-8 349. insinuating, winding himself into folds (Lat. sinus). 

Gordian twine, intricate tangle, his braided train, his twisted, inter- 
laced tail ; or perhaps the whole length of his body. 

" That intricate form into which he put himself was a sort of symbol 
or type of his fraud, though not then regarded" (Richardson). 

NOTES. 463 

352. bedward ruminating', chewing the cud (Lat. ruminantes} 
before they go to bed (Hume). 

354. the Ocean Isles, i.e. in the Atlantic, in which, according to the 
classical fancy, the sun set ; cf. Comus, 95 97. In vin. 631, 632, M. 
seems to identify them with the Cape de Verde islands. 

ascending scale ; to be taken, I think, not literally as a reference to 
an astronomical fact or theory, but merely as a metaphor for the 
alternations of day and night. 

355. Cf. Shakespeare, Sonnet 132, "Nor that full star that ushers in 
the even." 

357. failed, that had failed him. The pause, indicating Satan's 
"dumb admiration," has enabled the poet to "enlarge (288 355) 
his description " (Newton). 

360. mould', in M. a constant word for ' material, substance.' 

361, 362. " A little lower than the angels," Psalm viii. 5. 
368. ye ; often used in Elizabethan E. for the objective you. 

370. for so happy, considering how happy they are : their security 
is not in proportion to their happiness. Cf.for in 372. 

374. forlorn, defenceless, "ill secured" (370). 

381 83. An allusion to Isaiah xiv. 9. 

387. for him, instead of him ; or perhaps 'because of.' 

389 91. * Public reason viz. honour and empire compels.' 

public reason ; so in S. A. 865 70 Dalila excuses her treachery 
to Samson on the ground that "the public good" of her country 
required it. 

393, 394. necessity. Perhaps an allusion to Charles's plea for ship- 
money (Newton). Cromwell pleaded the same excuse for the execution 
of Charles. Dryden puts the plea ironically in the mouth of the 
"Panther" (in. 83538). In On Education M. sneers at those to 
whom "tyrannous aphorisms appear... the highest points of wisdom" 
(P. W. in. 4 66). 

398. end, purpose, aim, viz. "to view"; cf. "end" in 442. 

402. a lion. Cf. i Peter v. 8. See I. 428, note. 

404. purlieu, the outskirt of a forest. 

405. couches; some modern texts misprint crouches. 

408. M. always uses the older form gripe, not grip ; cf. VI. 543. 

408 10. The construction is 'When Adam, by beginning to 
address Eve, made Satan turn.' Observe how naturally Satan gains 
(419 32) the information he requires (Newton). 

411. There is, I think, an almost quibbling use of sole(i) 'only,' 
(2) 'unique' (implying 'chief'). Eve is the only sharer in Adam's joys 
and herself the chief element of them. 


419. See Acts xvii. 25. 

43 c. possess, occupy; cf. Borneo and Juliet, in. i. 27. 

433. one-, emphatic by position; 'only one.' easy, to keep (but 
also to break) ; an unconscious irony. 

44143. flesh of thy flesh ; cf. Genesis ii. 23. head; " the head 
of the woman is the man," i Cor. xi. 3. 

447. odds, superiority ; often used so by Shakespeare ; cf. Richard 
II. in. 4. 89 ; Titus Andronicus, v. 2. 19. 

449, 450. In vin. 25355 Adam likens his creation to awaking. 
So death is often likened to sleep. 

451. on flower s\ so the First Ed.; the Second Ed. has of 

453 65. M. had in mind Ovid's story of Narcissus, Metamor- 
phoses in. 407 et seq. 

470. stays, i.e. for awaits. 

475. Cf. xi. 159. The name Eve is thought to mean ' life.' 

478. platane, plane-tree (Lat. platanns). 

483 85. "And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and 
flesh of my flesh : she shall be called Woman," Gen. ii. 23. 

486. individual, in the literal sense ' not to be divided ^insepar- 
able ; cf. V. 6 10. Lat. individnus. 

487, 488. So Horace calls Maecenas mete partem animac t and 
Vergil animte dimidinm mete (Odes n. 17. 5 ; i. 3. 8). 

493. unreproved, not to be reproved, blameless ; cf. 987. 

500. impregns, impregnates ; O. Fr. empreigner, Lat. impi'cegnare. 
The word occurs in More's Song of the Soul (Cambridge ed. , 1647, 
p. 205). 

503. envy\ cf. ix. 264. 

506. imparadised '; used by other writers of the I7th century. Cf. 
Giles Fletcher, Christ's Triumph after Death, 44, "in his burning 
throne he sits emparadis'd " ; and Phineas Fletcher, The Purple Island, 
I. 15. Dante has it in the Paradiso, xxvin. 3. 

511. pines ; probably transitive = ' makes me pine.' Cf. xil. 77, 
and P. R. i. 325, "pined with hunger." 

526. equal with gods. See III. 206, note. 

530. a chance but, it is a chance, just a possibility, that chance 
may lead, etc. : the grim sort of quibble in which bitterness (here 
jealousy) finds vent. 

539. in utmost longitude, in the farthest west. See III. 57476. 

540 43. The rays of the setting sun fell on the inner side of the 
towering rock which formed the gate of Paradise on the east (xil. 638). 

549. Gabriel, ' man of God ' ; one of the seven great Spirits ; see 

NOTES. 465 

in. 648, 649, note. Following, no doubt, some tradition, M. makes him 
in P. L. one of the chief warriors of the Heavenly host, though inferior 
to Michael (vi. 44 46). In the Bible Gabriel is always a peaceful 
intermediary between Heaven and Earth and the bearer of tidings to 
man (cf. Daniel viii., ix., Luke i.), and that is the ordinary conception 
of his office ; see the sketch of Adam unparadiz 1 d in the Introduction^ 
and cf. Fairfax, Tasso, I. n : 

" Out of the Hierarchies of angels sheen 
The gentle Gabriel call'd he [the Almighty] from the rest, 
'Twixt God and souls of men that righteous been 
Ambassador is he, for ever blest; 
The just commands of Heaven's Eternal King, 
'Twixt skies and earth, he up and down doth bring." 
That aspect of Gabriel is presented in P. R. i. 129, iv. 504. 
55i 54 Cf. a similar scene in 11. 528 32 (note). 
553- armoury, weapons; in apposition to "shields," etc. 
555. the even', that part of the hemisphere where it was then 
evening (Todd). 

557. thwarts, crosses. 

560. he thus began. This abruptness expresses his haste (Newton). 

561. When M. speaks of the offices assigned to the Heavenly 
beings he seems to have in his mind the Temple-service of the Jews and 
the distribution of the Levites "by lot," i Chronicles xxiii. xxv. Note 
also the "courses" of service in i Chronicles xxvii., and cf. P. L. V. 655. 

565, 566. Cf. Satan's words in in. 667 76. 

567. God's latest image} the first being Christ; cf. III. 63. 
described', Uriel had directed .Satan's course, in. 722 35. Descried, 

which some modern texts print, gives a more natural sense, but it has 
no authority apart from the parallel passage in IX. 60 62. 

568. aery gait, course through the air. 

569 73. Cf. 124 30. m = on; a common Elizabethan use; 
cf. the Lord's Prayer, "in earth, as it is in heaven." 

580. vigilance, guards : abstract for concrete. Cf. II. 130 

59092. "While Uriel and Gabriel have been conversing, the 
Sun has fallen to the horizon, so that the sunbeam on which Uriel 
returns inclines from Paradise to the Sun " (Masson). 

592. beneath the Azores, i.e. in the extreme west. 

592 97. He will not decide whether the sun had revolved to the 

west or the Earth to the east, i.e. whether the Ptolemaic astronomy 

(according to which the Earth was a stationary body) or the Copernican 

is right. Cf. in. 574 76, note. For the general purposes of his poem 

P. L. 30 


M. accepts the old Ptolemaic system, but he lets the reader see that 
he knows the Copernican. See the notes on vin. 130 40. 

prime orb-, surely the sun, "the great luminary" (cf. prime 
chief), with " lucent orb" in. 576, 589, the "diurnal star," x. 1069; 
not, as some think, the Primum Mobile. 

593. incredible hoiv swift \ an absolute construction like in. 76. 

594. vohibil', in form, accent and sense = Lat. volubilis, 'rolling.' 
The Latin accentuation of words derived from Latin was very marked 
in Elizabethan E.; it has steadily declined, the Teutonic tendency in 
E. being to throw the accent forward, e.g. voluble; Aspect, not aspect = 
Lat. aspectus (see 541, III. 266); edict, not edict (S. A. 301). 

598, 599- Cf. "the grey-hooded Even," Comus, 188. livery, dress. 
Thyer notes that Milton is very fond of describing twilight, perhaps 
because of his eyesight. 

603. she; see V. 41. descant, song with variations. Gray borrowed 
Milton's phrase, in that Sonnet which Wordsworth took as a type of the 
Augustan style of poetic diction : " The Birds in vain their amorous 
Descant join." Cf. Vergil, Georg. iv. 51115. 

604. So in Comus, 55760, when "The Lady" sang, "even 
Silence " was enchanted. 

605. living sapphires ; cf. II. 1050. 

608. apparent queen, revealed a queen manifestly a queen. 

614. Cf. Richard III. iv. i. 84, " the golden dew of sleep," and 
Julius Casar, II. i. 230, " Enjoy the honey-heavy dew of slumber." 

620. regard^ watch (cf. III. 534); in 877 = * look' (Fr. regard}. 

628. manuring, cultivation. 

632. ask, require; a common Elizabethan use; cf. The Taming of 
the Shrew, n. 115, "Signior Baptista, my business asketh haste." 

635. author, i.e. the source of her being (see book vin.). 

640. seasons, times of the day, not year (see x. 678, 679). 

641 56. A striking example of the poetic artifice called epana- 
diplosis or 'repetition'; cf. vn. 26, note. The passage illustrates 
well Milton's love of Nature; see ix. 445 54, note. 

642. charm, song ; used sometimes in the wider sense of harmoni- 
ous notes, music; cf. The Holy War ("Temple" ed., p. 293): "The 
men of Mansoul also were greatly concerned at this melodious charm of 
the trumpets." 

657, 658. Pope probably recollected this when he wrote the Essay 
on Man, I. 131, 132 : 

"Ask for what end the heavenly bodies shine, 
Earth for whose use ? Pride answers, ' 'Tis for mine. ' " 

659. our general ancestor', cf. "our general mother" (Eve), 492. 

NOTES. 467 

660. accomplished ; a complimentary address ; cf. Twelfth Night, 
in. i. 95, " Most excellent accomplished lady ! " 

661. those, Newton substituted these, perhaps rightly; cf. 657, 

665. Darkness, i.e. the "original darkness" (n. 984) of Chaos. 
667 73. A reference to current astrology. 

673. Cf. what is said of the sun's power in III. 606 12. 

674. Cf. Julius Ccesar, iv. 3. 226, "The deep of night is crept 
upon our talk"; and The Merry Wives of Windsor, iv. 4. 40. 

675. none; placed last for emphasis; cf. 704, xi. 612. 

684 88. ' Often, while they keep watch or make the nightly 
rounds, their songs, joined in harmonious measures ("number") with 
the notes of instruments skilfully touched, divide the night.' 

688. divide, i.e. into watches, divide the night \ literally = the 
Latin phrase dividers noctem used of Roman soldiers marking the 
watches of the night by sounding on a trumpet the signal for relieving 
guard. Cf. Silius Italicus VII. 154, 155, mediant somni cum buccina 
noctem \ divideret. So Lucan uses dividere horas, n. 689. Tennyson 
gives a fresh turn to the phrase ; cf. A Dream of Fair Women, "Saw 
God divide the night with flying flame." 

This part of Paradise Lost inspired, mainly, the graceful Miltonic 
passage in Campbell's Pleasures of Hope ; 11., early ("Till Hymen 

697 703. Cf. the description of the flowers with which the bier of 
Lycidas is to be decked, Lye. 139 51. The "bower" in Tennyson's 
(Enone owes something to these lines; cf. too the "moonlit sward" in 
his Arabian Nights. 

703. emblem, inlaid work; Gk. fypXrjfJia, 'a thing put on, an 

706. feigned, i.e. by poets. 

707, 708. Sylvanus, a Latin divinity of the fields and woods (Lat. 
silva, wood), much the same as Faunus, the god of fields and shepherds, 
or the Greek Pan, god of flocks and pastoral life. The three deities 
were often identified. 

711. the hymenaan, the marriage-song; from Hyrnen^ the classical 

712. genial = Lat. genialis in the sense ' nuptial ' ; cf. lectus genialis. 
71319. To benefit mankind, Prometheus ('fore-thought') stole 

the fire of Zeus (Jove) ; Zeus in revenge caused Hephaestus (Vulcan) 
to make a woman out of earth who should bring misery on mankind. 
She was called Pandora or All-gifted (Gk. irdvTa, 'all' + Swpa, 'gifts') 
because each of the gods endowed her with some power fatal to 



mankind. Hermes, the messenger of the gods, conducted her to 
Epimetheus ('after-thought'), " the unwiser son"; and he, forgetting 
the advice of his brother, Prometheus, not 10 accept anything from 
Zeus, married her. Pandora brought with her from heaven a box 
containing all human ills and let them loose upon mankind. Thus 
Zeus was revenged upon Prometheus, the benefactor of mankind. 
Another version of the legend said that the box contained blessings, all 
which, save hope, escaped and abandoned the world when Pandora 
opened the lid. 

M. had made a precisely similar application of the story in his 
Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, 3, calling Eve "a consummate and 
most adorned Pandora" and Adam "our true Epimetheus" (P. VV. 
III. 224). 

716 19. The construction is 'when, brought by Hermes to 
the unwiser son, she ensnared mankind, so as to bring vengeance (i.e. 
of Jove) on him who etc.' event, issue, result, Lat. eventus. unwiser, 
i.e. less wise than Prometheus. Some take it as a Latinism = ' not so 
wise as he should have been ' (imprndentior). 

717. Japhet = (j\i. 'laTreros, one of the Titans, father of Prometheus 
and Epimetheus. Apparently M. identifies him with the Japhet of 
Scripture. Cf. S. A. 715, 716, where, as in Isaiah Ixvi. 19, Javan 
stands for the Greek mxxfavan being the son of the Scriptural 
Japhet, Genesis x. 2. See i. 508. 

719. stole', so the original texts; we find it in Shakespeare; cf. 
Macbeth, II. 3. 73, Julius Casar> n. i. 238. 

authentic, original, genuine; cf. in. 656. 

720. stood. In The Christian Doctrine, n. 4, M. says, "No 
particular posture of the body in prayer was enjoined, even under 
the law " (P. W. V. 34). He makes Adam and Eve sometimes stand 
(XI. i, 2), sometimes kneel (xi. 150), when they pray. 

722. The use of both with more than two things is quite Elizabethan ; 
cf. Venus and Adonis, 747, " Both favour, savour, hue and qualities." 

724 35. The words of adoration offered by Adam and Eve. 
M. may have had in mind Psalm Ixxiv. 16, 17. 

733. fill the Earth = ' replenish the earth," Genesis i. 28. 

735. " For so he giveth his beloved sleep," Psalm cxxvii. 2. Homer 
speaks of the " gift of sleep," virvov dwpov, Iliad IX. 713, and Vergil has 
a similar thought, ALneid II. 269. 

736, 737. M. often shows his dislike of ceremonies and forms in 
worship ; cf. XH. 534, 535. 

741 62. Various texts of Scripture dealing with marriage are 
referred to, e.g. Gen. i. 28 ; i Tim. iv. i 3 ; Ephes. v. 32 ; Ileb. xiii. 4. 

NOTES. 469 

744 47. The allusion is to monachisra and the celibacy of priests. 
751. sole propriety, the one thing held by its owners (Adam and 
Eve) as their exclusive possession. Lat. proprius, 'one's own.' 
756. charities, feelings of love, affections (Lat. caritates). 

763. According to legend, "winged Cupid" (A Midsummer- Nigh? s 
Dream, I. i. 235), the god of love, had two sorts of arrows, one tipped 
with gold to inspire love, the other with lead to repel love (Ovid, 
Metamorphoses I. 468 71). Cf. the Glosse to Spenser's 77te Shepheards 
Calender, March, " He [Cupid] is sayd to have shafts, some leaden, 
some golden." Orsino in Twelfth Night, I. i. 35, speaks of love's 
"rich golden shaft." The allusion is common in Elizabethan poets. 

764. constant lamp ; cf. XI. 590. The antithesis to " constant " 
is " casual " in 767. purple, lustrous. The imagery of the couplet 
is classical; cf. 708 13. 

767. court-amours. Probably M. is glancing particularly at the 
dissolute court of Charles II. Cf. a similar sarcasm in I. 497 ; also in 
P. R. n. 183. 

768. mixed dance. The Puritans greatly disliked the practice of 
men and women dancing together. In Of Reformation in England, II., 
M. unites "gaming, wassailing, and mixed dancing'" in one condemna- 
tion, P. W. n. 402. 

mask) a private form of theatrical entertainment, the forerunner of 
the opera ; so called because originally the performers wore masks or 
vizards. The mask was much patronised by the court (especially under 
the Stuarts) and great nobles from Elizabeth's reign up to the outbreak 
of the Civil War ; after the Restoration mask-performances were very 
rare, so that the allusion here had not very much point in 1667. 
M. was thinking of the past generation to which really he belonged. 
He himself wrote a mask in Comus, 1634 ; but the Milton of Paradise 
Lost, 1667, was a very different person. In the Preface to Eikonoklastes 
he had ridiculed the "conceited portraiture... drawn out of the full 
measure of a masking scene," of Charles I. which was prefixed to Eikon 
Basilike'y and in his pamphlet on A Free Commonwealth (1660) he had 
condemned "masks and revels" as an appanage of court-life (P. IV. 
I. 312, II. 116). See the account of the mask appended to Comus. 

769. serenate, serenade, starved, perishing with cold; similarly 
used in II. 600. Cf. Horace's picture of a lover shivering by night 
outside the house of his "proud fair" Lydia or Lyce {Odes i. 25 and 

III. 10). 

773. repaired, made good the loss of, i.e. with fresh roses. 
775. know to know no more, are wise enough to seek no further 


77^ 777- "As the earth is a globe, her shadow, the sun being so 
much larger than she is, must form a cone, which moves as the sun 
moves, and on the opposite side. Night and day then in Paradise 
consisting each of twelve hours, the earth's cone would, at midnight, be 
in the meridian, and the half-way uphill to it [the meridian] would be 
therefore nine o'clock, the commencement of the second watch" 

sublunar vault, the expanse of heaven below the moon. The epi- 
thet helps to fix how far up the heaven the Earth's shadow had climbed: 
by nine o'clock it had not got as far as the moon. 

778 80. M. always assigns to the Cherubim the duty of sentinels, 
for the reason explained later (p. 68 1). 

778. port, gate (porta); cf. Coriolanus, v. 6. 6. 

782. Uzziely 'strength of God.' The name occurs in the Bible 
(e.g. in Exod. vi. 18), but not as that of an angel, coast, skirt. 

784. as flame ; an apt simile, since the Cherubim are literally 
lustrous beings "radiant files" (797). 

785. M. has borrowed the Greek phrases <?TT' dairiSa, ' on the shield 
side, i.e. to the left,' and tirl 56pv, 'to the spear side, i.e. to the right.' 
We find Trap 1 davida and napa Sbpv used thus. The military terms 
suit the context and lend dignity. 

786. from these, i.e. from the band of Chenibim which had 
wheeled "to the spear" and were to be under the command of 
Gabriel himself. 

788. Ithuriel, 'the discovery of God.' Zephon, 'a looking out.' 
The names suit the duty which Gabriel assigns to these two Cherubim. 
791. secure of , unsuspicious of, not fearing. 
79 2 > 793- i <e> there arrived one who (Lat. qui) tells (namely, Uriel). 

797. files, lines; cf. I. 567, "the armed files." 

798. these, Ithuriel and Zephon. 

799809. This episode is made the occasion of a philosophical 
explanation of dreams in v. 100 21. 

800. Pope has an effective allusion to this line in the famous satire 
on 'Sporus' (Lord Hervey), Epistle to Arbuthnot. See also S. A. 857, 
858, P. R. IV. 407409. 

802. Cf. The Merry Wives of Windsor, v. 5. 54, 55, "ere she 
sleep... Raise up the organs of her fantasy" ( = imagination). 

803. list; a past tense, as in n. 656. 

804. or if. M. varies the construction : 'trying to reach... trying if 
he might ' etc. 

811. lightly, i.e. with only a light touch, for etc. 

812. temper, a thing tempered, i.e. a weapon : abstract for concrete. 

NOTES. 4/1 

814. "Tennyson used to say that the two grandest of all Similes 
were those of the Ships hanging in the Air [n. 63643], and ' the 
Gunpowder one,' which he used slowly and grimly to enact, in the Days 
that are no more" (Edward Fitzgerald, Letter, p. 156 of Life by 
A. C. Benson). 

815. Nitre or saltpetre is an ingredient of gunpowder ; cf. vi. 512. 

816. tun, barrel ; Low Lat. tunna, a cask, Fr. tonntau. 

817. against, in preparation for. Various battle-touches in P. L. 
(especially in bk. vi.) seem like a reminiscence of the Civil War. Cf. 
Milton's Sonnet "When the Assault." 

829. there, i.e. in the higher places of Heaven, where the inferior 
angels would not "sit." 

830. Cf. S. A. 1 08 1, 1082: 

" thou know'st me now, 
If thou at all art known." 

argues, proves, shows (Lat. arguere); cf. 931. 

835, 836. Apparently M. uses think with different constructions, 
thus : ' Do not think thy shape the same, or suppose thy undiminished 
brightness to be known as it was in Heaven,' i.e. 'do not suppose thy 
brightness to be undiminished and recognised.' Some interpret : ' Do 
not think thy shape the same or thy brightness undiminished, so as to 
be known.' 

840. obscure', in the literal sense 'dark, gloomy' (Lat. obscurus). 

843. these \ Zephon points to Adam and Eve. 

845 47. Remembered by Dryden ; cf. The Hind and the Panther, 
ill. 1040, 1041: 

"For vice, though frontless and of hardened face, 
Is daunted at the sight of awful grace." 

There are parallels to this scene in Paradise Regained, where Satan, 
not insensible to goodness, is abashed in the presence of the Saviour 
(e.g. in in. 145-49); 

847 49. A reminiscence of Persius ill. 38, virtutem videant, inta- 
bescantque relic ta. 

848. shape = Lat. forma in its philosophical sense ' outward mani- 
festation of; cf. forma honesti* shape of virtue,' Cicero, De OJficiis 
I. 5. 15. So M. in his prose-works; cf. The Reason of Church Govern- 
ment, I. i, " the very visible shape and image of virtue" ; and again, 
I. 2, "the lovely shapes of virtues and graces," P. IV. n. 442, 446. 

856. Cf. S. A. 834, "All wickedness is weakness." 

862. those half-rounding guards, i.e. the Cherubim under Uzziel 
and the others under Gabriel. Each band had made half the circuit of 
Paradise, and now they met at its western extremity (cf. 784). 


869. port, bearing. "Their port was more than human," Comus, 

870, 871. Gabriel, belonging to one of the highest of the Heavenly 
Orders, has known Satan (an archangel) in the past, and so recog- 
nises him here ; Zephon, an inferior angel, did not (830, 831). 

872. contest. M. always accents the noun, as we do the verb, con- 
ttst; cf. xi. 800, "In sharp contest of battle found no aid." 

886. the esteem of wise, the reputation of being wise. 

891 93. whatever, any; cf. 587. to change... with, to exchange 
for; compare the double use of Lat. mutare. 

894. dole', Lat. dolor, 'pain.' which. ..I sought, i.e. to do, viz. 
*to exchange torment for ease' etc. 

896. object, urge as an objection to my breaking from Hell. 

899. durance, prison, strictly 'imprisonment.' 

thus much, i.e. thus much in reply to your question. The style of 
the speech reflects Satan's "contemptuous" bearing (885). 

906. returns ; probably the subject is "Satan," returns him being 
the reflexive use so common in Elizabethan E. with many verbs now 
intransitive; cf. i Henry VI. ill. 3. 56. Some editors lake folly as the 
subject, and return = ' bring back.' 

911. however, howsoever, by any means. 

925, 'I do not come because I have less power to endure. 1 

926, 927. Either (i) 'I withstood, resisted, thy fiercest attack' cf. 
phrases like 'do thy worst'; or (2) 'I proved myself ("stood") thy 
fiercest foe.' The first way, which makes stood transitive, is preferable; 
for the noun-use of thy fiercest > cf. n. 278, xi. 497. 

927, 928. Book vi. describes how on the third day of the great 
battle in Heaven the Messiah came forth to end the contest, and, hurling 
"ten thousand thunders," smote the rebels down into Hell. 

vollied', cf. Campbell, "From rank to rank your volleyed thunder 
flew" (said of guns). 

93 93 ! i' e - show thy ignorance of what is the duty of a leader 
after disaster; cf. "argue" in 949. 

938. fame Lat. fania in the literal sense report ' ; cf. i. 65 1. 

939. afflicted, struck down (afflictus); cf. I. 186. 

940. An allusion to the Rabbinical view, commonly adopted by 
mediaeval writers, that the angels who fell with Satan were the same as 
the spirits or "daemons" who inhabited the "elements" of earth and 
air. See 11. 274, 275, note; and for the ancient division of the air into 
three "regions," see Appendix, pp. 67476. 

941. put to try, made, forced, to try. Cf. Cymbeline, n. 3. no, 
'* You put me to forget a lady's manners." 

NOTES. 473 

942. gay, fine; perhaps a retort to "obscure and foul" in 840. 

94345. Here Satan is very like the Prometheus of ^Eschylus; 
cf. Prometheus Vinctus 937, 938 (Todd). 

949. Gabriel is replying to Satan's words in 930 33. 

953 56. In these lines Gabriel speaks to the host of Satan's 
followers, as though they were present ; your refers to them not, of 
course, to Satan, whom Gabriel addresses as thou. In Shakespeare thou 
is often a contemptuous form of address. 

958. patron, champion ; see III. 219, note. 

962. areed, advise. 

965 67. drag-, a vivid present, chained; see I. 48, ill. 82. seal\ 
cf. Rev. xx. 3, "And [he] cast him [Satan] into the bottomless pit, and 
shut him up, and set a seal upon him. " facile, easily passed. 

971. limitary \j)A.. limitaris, 'guarding the frontier' (Lat. limes}. 
Satan refers sarcastically to "hallowed limits" in Gabriel's speech (964). 

973 76. Alluding to the throne-chariot of the Deity conceived 
as formed of the wings of the Cherubim. Cf. VI. 771. Satan called 
Gabriel a cherub (971), though properly he was an archangel. 

the road of Heaven. Cf. vn. 576 78, and the description of 
"the floor of heaven" in The Merchant of Venice, V. 58, 59. 

977 79- i- e< the close array of angels spread itself out in the shape 
of a crescent moon. Cf. Fairfax, Tasso, xx. 22, "Like the new moon, 
his host two horns did spread." phalanx, battalion (Gk. <d\a7). 

980. with ported spears, i.e. "with their spears held in their hands 
across their breasts and slanting beyond the left shoulder, ready to be 
brought down to the ' charge ' if necessary. The Angels have not the 
points of their spears turned to Satan [as the phrase used to be explained 
by editors] ; they have them only grasped in the position preparatory to 
turning them against him" (Masson). "Port" is really a military term. 
Anyone who has ever executed, or seen executed, the command "Arms 
port" (formerly "Port arms"), will be able to picture to himself the 
band of Cherubim with slanting spears thick as the slanting stalks of 
corn a very appropriate simile, used by other poets ; Newton compares 
Iliad u. 147. See VII. 321, 322. 

981 83. Ceres, corn; strictly the goddess of agriculture. The 
beard is the prickles on the ears of corn, careful, anxious. 

984. hopeful, from which he had hoped so much ; or 'which had 
made him so hopeful' (the epithet being transferred). M. is thinking of 
Vergil's expectata seges, Georg. I. 226. 

985. alarmed, prepared, on his guard. 

986. dilated, expanded. Spirits (he says in I. 428, 429) can 
distend or contract their shapes as they please. 


987. Atlas, the mountain in Libya on which the sky was supposed 
by the Greeks to rest (n. 306). unremoved, not to be removed ; cf. 493. 

988, 989. his stature reached the sky. Editors compare Homer's 
goddess of Discord and Vergil's Fame ; and refer to the book of 
Wisdom xviii. 16. crest, i.e. of his helmet. Probably M. remembered 
Henry V. n. ProL 8. See also VI. 306, 307. 

990. Cf. the picture of Death in II. 672, 673. The intentional 
vagueness of such descriptions is so effective because it stirs but does 
not satisfy the imagination, rousing a sense of the mysterious and 

992. cope, "canopy" (in. 556), roof; akin to cape, cap. Cf. Pericles, 
iv. 6. 132, "the cheapest country under the cope," i.e. firmament. 

993. all the elements, the whole fabric of this Universe. 

994. wrack, destruction ; the old form of wreck. 

996 1004. The general idea of the "golden scales" of the Almighty 
is from Homer, Iliad vili. 69 72 : "then did the Father [i.e. Zeus] 
balance his golden scales (xpv&eia raXavra) and put therein two fates of 
death. for horse-taming Trojans, one for mail-clad Achaians; and 
he took the scale-yard by the midst and lifted it, and the Achaians' day 
of destiny sank down" (Leaf). The idea is repeated in //. xxn. 209 12, 
with reference to the contest between Achilles and Hector, and imitated 
by Vergil, SEn. xil. 725 27, with reference to yEneas and Turaus. 

M. does not borrow without adding or varying, and we may note the 
fresh turns which he has given to Homer's notion: (i) he identifies the 
Scales with the sign of the Zodiac called Libra'' the Balance' a poetic 
fancy which gives at once a certain reality to the fiction of the Scales 
and a new association and interest to Libra itself; (2) he represents the 
Scales as those with which the Almighty measured out the Universe 
and its elements and this, by adding to the importance of the Scales, 
heightens our sense of the greatness of Satan whose fate is weighed 
in them, and increases the grandeur of the whole scene. 

M. had referred to the Scales Fatorum lances in his Latin poem 
Naturam non Pati Senium, 34, 35. Pope employs them with fine 
mock-heroic effect in The Rape of the Lock, 711 14. 

998. Astrcea ; the constellation Virgo, the... sign, i.e. of the Zodiac. 

999 loor. Cf. Isaiah xl. 12, "Who hath measured the waters in 
the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span,... and 
weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?" also Job 
xxviii. 25, xxxvii. 16. 

pendulous, hanging (Lat. pendnlus), i.e. as the central body "self- 
balanced" of the Universe; cf. "hung" in vn. 242 and the Nativity 
Ode, 122. This is what Bacon means by "the pensileness of the earth" 

NOTES. 475 

(The Advancement of Learning, I. 6. 10). In II. 1052, the idea is 
different, though the wording is similar, ponders, weighs. 

1002, 1003. Again M. varies the classical idea: (i) he does not 
weigh Satan against Gabriel, as Homer weighed the Greeks against 
the Trojans, Hector against Achilles, or Vergil Turnus against tineas : 
only Satan himself is weighed. The one weight represents the con- 
sequence (=" sequel") to Satan of fighting, the other the consequence 
of departing: the scale containing the weight that symbolises fighting 
shows, by its ascent, that Satan's chance of success is light weighed 
and found wanting {Daniel v. 27); i.e. that the result of departing 
will be better for him. (1} In Homer and Vergil the descent of the 
scale, since it is weighted with death, is the evil sign. The English 
use of the image is the reverse ascent typifying worthlessness and its 

1004. beam, the cross-piece from which the scales of a balance are 
suspended. To ' kick (or 'strike') the beam' means that one scale im- 
mediately ascends as far as it can, being greatly outweighed by the other : 
hence the figurative application of the phrase to things 'of little weight.' 
Cf. The Hind and the Panther, II. 622 24: 

"If such a one you find, let truth prevail; 
Till when, your weights will in the balance fail; 
A Church unprincipled kicks up the scale." 

1008. since thine, i.e. can do ; referring to "strength." 

loio. "To tread them down like the mire of the streets," 
Isaiah x. 6. 

1014. nor more, i.e. nor said more. This omission of verbs of 
saying (cf. V. 67) is common in Vergil, whose influence on M. was 
so great. Addison thought that in regard to style Milton was affected 
more by Vergil than by Homer. 

1015. fled the shades of night. The action of the next book begins 
at daybreak. Books v. vill. are filled mainly with the account of 
events which preceded the creation of man. Satan, though spoken of, 
does not appear again till IX. 53. 


i. now morn. "This is the morning of the day after Satan's 
coming to the earth" (Todd). 

rosy steps. Contrast Lycidas, 186, 187: 

"Thus sang the uncouth swain to the oaks and rills, 
While the still Morn went out with sandals gray." 


So in vii. 373, 374, and P.R. iv. 426, 427. Some scholars say that 
the Homeric epithet for the Dawn, poSoSckruXo?, refers to her feet, 
not hands; Milton, however, followed the ordinary interpretation 
(vi. 3). 

"Gray "and "rosy" (vi. 3) are, of course, traditional epithets for 
the morning in its early and later stages, clime, region. 

2. sowed \ the metaphor of scattering corn, to which the dew- 
drops ("orient pearl") bear some resemblance. Spenser speaks of the 
sky "All sowd with glistring stars," An Hymne of Heavenly Beautie. 
Cf. vii. 358. Shakespeare often likens moisture (746, 747), especially 
tears, to pearl; cf. Lucrece, 1213, 1553. orient, lustrous. 

3 5. i.e. Adam's sleep was not the heavy drowsiness that clouds 
the brain with its vapours after intemperate eating or drinking. Cf. IX. 
1046 51; Macbeth, I. 7. 63 68; Pope, Satires, n. 73, 74 (obvious 
Miltonic reminiscences) ; and Thomson, Spring, 245, 246. 

5. temperate vapours bland ; Milton's favourite word-order; cf. 
vi. 249, and see the note on I. 733, where an illustration might be 
added from Campbell's Pleasures of Hope, " Of cultured soul, and 
sapient eye serene " (an echo of Gray's Elegy, 53). 

bland, soothing, which, i.e. "sleep." the only sound, the single 
sound, the sound alone. Todd quotes the phrase in The Faerie Qncene, 
v. 1 1 . 30. This use of only is Spenserian ; cf. " the only breath" = 'only 
the breath, the mere breath,' F. Q. I. 7. 13. 

6. fuming, i.e. with the steam that rises in early morning; see 
185, 186. For this literal use of fume cf. vn. 600. 

Aurora's fan = the "leaves." The wind which ushers in the dawn 
(cf. S. A. 10, n) stirs the leaves as a fan, and their rustling helps to 
awake Adam. 

1 6. i.e. mild as the west wind ("that breathes the spring," UAlkgro, 
1 8) passing over a bank of flowers. Flora, the goddess of flowers, 
symbolises the flower-world, as in P. R. II. 365. Her association with 
Zephyrus is a poetic convention; cf. Garth's Dispensary, 1699: 
"Where Flora treads, her Zephyr garlands flings, 
And scatters odours from his purple wings." 

J 7 2 5' Keightley cites the Song of Solomon ii. 10 13. Cf. too 
the lines "Wake now, my love, awake! etc." in Spenser's Epi- 
thalamion ; the Song of Solomon is referred to directly in IX. 442, 443. 

21. prime, daybreak, the early part of the clay. 

22. tended\ so the First Ed.; but in many texts (as Dr Bradshaw 
notes) it has been corrupted into tender. Compare, however, passages 
like IV. 438, "To prune these growing plants, and tend these flowers," 
and IX. 206. blows, i.e. blooms. 

NOTES. 477 

23. balmy reed, i.e. balm ( = balsam, etymologically) ; cf. "corny 
reed " = corn, vii. 321. drops ; myrrh and balm are aromatic resins, of 
much the same nature, produced by the balsam-tree (pa\<ra/j.6di>5pov) 
and other trees of the same genus. Cf. iv. 248, and Othello, v. 2. 

" one whose subdued eyes, 
Albeit unused to the melting mood, 
Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees 
Their medicinal gum " ; 

lines which Marvell remembered in the Nymph's lament over her dying 
fawn : 

" See how it weeps ! the tears do come 
Sad, slowly, dropping like a gum. 
So weeps the wounded balsam ; so 
The holy frankincense doth flow ; 
The brotherless Heliades 
Melt in such amber tears as these." 

The perfume myrrh is to be distinguished from the resin ; it is thought 
to have been distilled from a kind of rock-roses. 

30, 31. I. ..have dreamed. Explained by iv. 799 et seq. "The 
author... shews a wonderful art throughout his whole poem in preparing 
the reader for the several occurrences that arise in it " (Addison). The 
abruptness of the sentences expresses Eve's confusion on just awakening, 
and her agitation of mind. 

35 93. Belinda's vision in the first canto of The Rape of the Lock 
is an amusing but by no means "respectful perversion" of Eve's 

39 41. i.e. the nightingale ; the poet's favourite bird, as many 
allusions show. Cf. his first Sonnet, Comus, 234 ("the love-lorn 
Nightingale"), // Penseroso, 61 64, vn. 435, 436, and the fifth Elegy, 
25 28. No doubt, the garden of his father's house at Horton (cf. 
// Pen. 49, 50) was a haunt of the bird. 

his ; poetic tradition (due to the classical story of Philomela) would 
say her, but the male bird is the songster. Elsewhere, however, Milton 
follows the poetic convention; cf. iv. 602, 603. Thomson, Spring, 
speaks of the "love-taught song" of birds, remembering perhaps 
Spenser, Epithalamion, 88 ("love-learned song"). 

43, 44. Contrast iv. 657 et seq., where Eve asks wherefore, for 
whom, do the stars shine all night, to which Adam replies that there 
are "millions of spiritual creatures" on earth, unseen by men, and 
that they behold and praise God's works by night as by day. 
50 92. A foretaste of the much fuller passage in ix. 494833. 


54 57. It is implied that the figure which appeared was that of 
Satan; cf. in. 636 44 where, to deceive Uriel, he puts on the form 
of a Cherub, winged and with flowing locks as here. 
56, 57. Almost a paraphrase of &neid i. 403 : 

Ambrosiccque coma divinum vertice odorem 

ambrosia, fragrance. The adjective is used in a similar context by 
Tennyson, in the description of Aphrodite (CEnone). 

60. god, i.e. angelic being; so in 70 and 117. In The Christian 
Doctrine, I. 5, M. explains why he applies the word ' god ' to angels 
(P. IV. iv. 106). 

61. i.e. is it envy (cf. Satan's words in ix. 729, 730) or some 
reservation, restraint, that keeps you from being tasted ? 

66. vouched, made good with, confirmed by; cf. Henry V, V. i. 77. 

67. he thus, i.e. spake; cf. IV. 1014. 
71 73. See 318 20, note. 

76. The resemblance to Euripides, Alcestis 182, has been remarked. 
There is a striking allusion to the Alcestis in Milton's Sonnet " On his 
Deceased Wife." Euripides was his favourite after Homer among 
the Greek poets. A copy of Euripides with MS. notes by Milton is 
extant, and one of his textual emendations fjdtws for T)5eui> in the 
BacchfB 1 88 is universally adopted. In his edition of the Baccha 
(Cambridge Press) Dr Sandys points out several Euripidean remi- 
niscences in Comus. He notes too what seems to have escaped Milton's 
editors, viz. the fact that the year in which M. bought the copy of 
Euripides above referred to, and may reasonably be supposed to have 
devoted some special attention to the works of the Greek poet, was the 
year which saw the production at Ludlow, and probably the compo- 
sition, of Comus. The direct allusions to Euripides in Milton's prose- 
works are very numerous. See the Appendix to Sonnets vin. and 
XXIIL, with the Notes on those Sonmts. 

77, 78. Cf. IX. 705 709. The allusion is to Genesis iii. 5. 

79. in the Air. Satan speaks as "prince of air" (xn. 454). In 
P. R. I. 3946 he addresses his followers as "ancient powers of air," 
and in P. R. u. 117, "the middle region of thick air" is their council- 
chamber. The idea can be traced to Ephesians ii. 2. Lines 78, 79 
are the appropriate motto of Wordsworth's poem, " Devotional Incite- 

84 86. Cf. the scene of the Temptation in IX. 739 41. In xi. 
517 19, Michael warns Adam against " ungoverned appetite," that 
having been the main cause of Eve's sin. 

91. i.e. I found that he was gone ; the sense connects wondering (89) 

NOTES. 479 

with 7(91). In the First and Second Eds. the punctuation is peculiar: 
there is a colon after various and a semicolon after exaltation. Perhaps 
by isolating the clause thus Milton intended an abruptness of speech 
corresponding with the surprise which Eve felt when she found herself 

94. sad) seriously. 

98. uncouth, strange. 

102 105. For Milton "Fancy" is the loftiest form of imagina- 
tion ; cf. viii. 461, where he terms it " internal sight," i.e. the highest 
power of conceiving mentally that which is not present to the eye. 
We must remember what "Fancy" means to him when we read his 
line on Shakespeare in IS Allegro, "Or sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's 
child " (133)- " Fancy " is the normal i8th century word for 'imagina- 
tion.' Cf. for instance, Collins's poems passim (e.g. the lines to Sir 
Thomas Hanmer on his edition of Shakespeare). 

Johnson considered Adam's discourse on dreams to be too philo- 
sophical for a new-created being. But "to find sentiments for the 
state of innocence was very difficult ; and something of anticipation 
perhaps is now and then discovered." 

104. represent, i.e. present, give representations of. 

106, 107. frames, i.e. frames into what we affirm etc. 

115. our last evenings talk ; related in iv. 411 39, where 
Adam reminds Eve of the prohibition not to taste of the tree of 

1 1 8. so, i.e. as in your case: evil, he says, if unapproved (by 
Reason) in the way Eve has described, leaves no blame. Keightley 
explains so = * provided that it be.' Todd prints unreprov'd. 

129. "A manner of speaking that occurs in Jeremiah xx. 7 : 
'thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived'" (Newton). 

133. each. ..their. A frequent idiom in M. ; cf. vn. 453, xi. 889. 
In Elizabethan E. each could be used as a plural word ; cf. Coriolanus, 
III. 2. 44. 

crystal-, a constant epithet of tears; cf. Shakespeare, Venus and 
Adonis, 956, 957: 

"She vail'd her eyelids, who, like sluices, stopt 
The crystal tide." 

137. arborous roof. Cf. the beautiful description of their bower in 
iv. 690708. 

139. day-spring, dawn, daybreak; so in VI. 521, and S. A. n. 
Cf. Luke \. 78, "the day-spring from on high" (margin sunrising), 
and Job xxxviii. 12 in the Authorised Version and also in Coverdale's 
version (1535), "Haste thou shewed the daye springe his place?" 


141, 142. shot. Cf. IV. 53943, Comusy 98, 99. 
144, 145. Cf. ix. 197 99. lowly they bowed; contrast XI. i, 2. 
orisons, prayers. 

147. nor... wanted they ', nor did they lack ; cf. 514. 

149. We must observe the strong emphasis on " unmeditated," and 
the repetition of "various" in 146 unmistakeable hints at the poet's 
"preference of extemporary prayer over set forms" (Keightley). In 
Eikonoklastes, 25, he sneers at the use of a "service-book." His poems 
are full of these covert attacks on the Church (iv. 193, note). 

150. numerous, melodious. 

151. It is worth while to remember that the lute, now obsolete, 
was in Milton's time a very popular instrument. Cf. the frequent 
allusions to it in Shakespeare. ' * To hear the lute well touched " is one 
of the pleasures that M. promises himself in the Sonnet to Henry 
Lawrence, and without doubt he had often delighted in the skill of his 
friend Henry Lawes, a famed lutenist. 

153 208. The hymn is obviously based upon Psalm cxlviii. and 
the Canticle, " O all ye Works of the Lord." Thomson's poem, 
A Hymn ("These, as they change "), is inspired by the same sources 
and by the present passage. Thomson's admiration of Milton finds vent 
in frequent imitations and in the very Miltonic lines, addressed to 
"Britannia," in Summer: 

" Is not wild Shakespeare thine and nature's boast ? 
Is not each great, each amiable muse 
Of classic ages in thy Milton met? 
A genius universal as his theme, 
Astonishing as chaos, as the bloom 
Of blowing Eden fair, as heaven sublime." 

154. frame, fabric, structure; cf. n. 924, viu. 15. . Bacon uses 
"the frame of things" and "the universal frame of nature" as 
synonyms for 'the Universe* (The Advancement of Learning, I. 8. 
i, II. 7. 7). 

1 60. See 716, note, and contrast vi. 715. 

162. symphonies, harmonies ; see xi. 595, note. 

day without night \ "that is, without such night as ours, for the 
darkness there [i.e. in Heaven] is no more than 'grateful twilight'" 
(Newton). See 645. 

163. circle. Cf. The Christian Doctrine, I. 9, "They (the angels) 
are represented (in Scripture) as standing dispersed around the throne 
of God in the capacity of ministering agents." Cf. 655 57. 

165. Cf. II. 324, note. 

1 66. He refers to the planet Venus, which, when west of the sun, 

NOTES. 481 

rises and sets before him, and is called the Morning-star, Lucifer 
cf. the Gk. titles 'Ew<r06pos ('dawn-bringer ') and 3>w<r0<5/>os ('light- 
bringer'); when the planet is east of the sun, it rises and sets after 
him, and is called the Evening-star, Hesperus (iv. 605). Cf. 
Tennyson, In Memoriam, CXXI. : 

"Sweet Hesper- Phosphor, double name, 
For what is one, the first, the last." 

fairest of stars ; cf. Iliad XXII. 318, "EaTrepos, 6s KO\\I<TTOS fr o$pav$ 
iVrarat dcrrijp, and the Glosse to The Shepheards Calender, December, 
" he seemeth to be one of the brightest of starres, and also first ryseth, 
and setteth last." 

171. Newton notes that Ovid (Metamorphoses iv. 728) calls the sun 
mundi oculus, and Pliny (Nat. Hist. n. 4) mundi animus. With 
Elizabethan writers "eye of heaven" is a favourite periphrasis; cf. 
Marlowe, 2 Tamburlaine, iv. 3. 88, "A greater lamp than that bright 
eye of heaven," and Shakespeare's Sonnets 18, 33. See note on 
// Penseroso, 141 ("Day's garish eye"). 

175. The general sense is that the moon, together with the fixed 
stars and the planets, is to resound his praise. 

176. the fixed stars ; cf. III. 481, note. "They are fixed in their 
orb, but their orb flies, that is, moves round with the utmost rapidity " 
(Newton), orb ' sphere ' ; M. treats the terms as interchangeable. 

177. ye five, i.e. the planets; "wandering fire " is partly a trans- 
lation of the Gk. TrXaj'TjTTjs, ' a wanderer,' from irXavaffQai, 'to wander ' 
whence planet. Cf. Drummond of Hawthornden, Forth Feasting 
(1617), where he is celebrating James I.'s thirst for knowledge: 

"Thou sought'st to know this. All's eternal source, 
Of everturning heavens the restless course, 
Their fixed eyes [cf. 176], their lights which wand'ring run, 
Whence moon her silver hath, his gold the sun." 
Drummond (1585 1649) ^ as not a ^ u ^ e * n common with Milton, and 
the fact that his poems were issued in 1656 with a Preface by Milton's 
nephew Edward Phillips is suggestive. In his Theatrum Poetaritm 
(*675) Phillips deplores that they are " utterly disregarded and laid 
aside at present," in spite of their "smooth and delightful" style. 
Drummond's lament for Prince Henry (1613) and his Pastoral Elegy 
(1637) may be compared with Lycidas. He is fond, too, of geographical 
names, especially river-names like "Hydaspes" (ill. 436). And his 
"constant preoccupation with the starry heavens and the Ptolemaic 
universe" makes another link with Paradise Lost. 

five. He has already mentioned the Sun, Moon (then reckoned 
planets) and Venus (166 70): hence only four planets remain 
P. L. 31 


Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Possibly M. by a mere error 
saidyfc* instead of four (which Bentley read); but I think that he 
intended to include Venus again. In 166-70 he addressed the planet 
emphatically under its special aspect as the Morning-star, giving tft 
particular manifestation of it an individuality apart from that of Venus 
considered generally as one of the seven planets. The Earth can 
scarcely be taken as making up the five, since not (as Masson notes) 
till viii. 12830 does Adam learn that it may possibly be a planet. 
178. The metaphor in "dance" is Milton's favourite means o 
suggesting the motions of stellar bodies ; cf. ill. 579. 580, and ix. 103. 
Shakespeare also applies "dance" (the vb.) to the heavenly bodies- 
apparently to suggest their quivering light; cf. Much Ado About 
Nothing, II. i. 349- Cf. too Shelley, " I sang of the dancing stars, 
Hymn of Apollo. 

not without ; Lat. tun sine. M. is fond of this classical turn of phrase 
(mtiosis); cf. III. 3 . He has it in his prose; cf. the fine passage 
(with its Horatian reminiscence) in the Areopagitica : "I cannot praise 
a fugitive and cloistered Virtue... that... slinks out of the race, where 
that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat 
(P. W. ii. 68). 

witf.Le. -the music of the spheres"; cf. 625-27. Perhaps the most 
elaborate account of this idea in the classics is that given in the Myth 
Er, bk. X. of the Republic (617, 618). Plato there says that on each of tl 
spheres-he recognises eight-" stands a siren, who travels round with 
the circle (i.e. revolution), uttering one note in one tone; and from al 
the eight notes there results a single harmony." See Arcades, 61 73 
where M. has adapted Plato's words (which are quoted at length in 
my note there), and recalled Lorenzo's speech in The Merchant of 
Venice, v. 60-65; Comus, 241, 1021; Twelfth Night, HI. i. m, 
Antony and Cleopatra, v. 2. 84, As You Like It, II. 7- 6. 

According to tradition, Pythagoras was the only man who ever 
heard this music ; cf. Milton's treatise De Spherarum Concentu : "solus 
inter mortales concentum audisse fertur Pythagoras." Plato explains 
that the music is inaudible because continuous; we should hear it 
there were a break. M. (cf. The Merchant of Venice, v. 64, 65) ofters 
elsewhere a purely moral view that sin has deadened the human senses, 
once so keen. Cf. Arcades, 72, 73: 

"After the heavenly tune, which none can hear 

Of human mould with gross unpurged ear." 

Here, before the Fall, Adam and Eve possess the power which throu 
their sin humanity lost. Somewhat similar is the Ode At a Sola 
Music (1924). 

NOTES. 4 8 3 

iSo. Elements-, see n. 274, 275, note. Among many illustrations 
in Shakespeare of this belief cf. Antony and Cleopatra, v 2 202 
293, Julius Casar, v. 5. 73, Twelfth Night, n. 3. 9, i O . ' 

18183. that in quaternion run. " That in a fourfold mixture 
and combination run a perpetual circle, one element continually 
Changing into another" (Newton). He shows that here and later 
41518, Milton is thinking of a passage in Cicero's De Natura 
Deorum, n. 33. 

Lines 18083 should be compared with n. 91016. 

189. uncoloured, i.e. having a single colour, unvariegated. 

191. advance, raise aloft ; see 588. 

i93 194- Cf. Thomson, A Hymn, "Ye forests bend, ye harvests 
wave, to Him." 

198- Cf. Cymbeline, n. 3. 21, "Hark, hark! the lark at heaven's 
gate sings," and Sonnet 29 : 

"Like to the lark at break of day arising 

From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate." 
But Shakespeare 'conveyed* the idea from a song in Lyly's play, 
Campaspe, where the lark "at heaven's gate claps her wings." 

202-204. witness, bear witness. I... my song. Bentley read we 
our song, and some other editors find the singular inappropriate, since 
Eve joined in the hymn. Pearce thought that M. was following the 
practice of Greek dramatists with whom "sometimes the plural and 
sometimes the singular number is used" in the choruses (cf. the choruses 
rtS. A.). Perhaps, after all, M. only means that each of the wor- 
shippers speaks for himself. 

205. to give us only good. Editors think that M. had in mind 

that celebrated prayer in Plato": " O Jupiter, give us good things, 

whether we pray for them or not, and remove from us all evil things 

even though we pray for them." Xenophon in his Memorabilia says 

that Socrates was wont to pray to the gods only to give good things, 

as they knew best what things were so." Cf. the Collect for the 8th 

Sunday after Trinity. (Newton's note.) 

i u < ' too luxuriant. 

aptly observed that pamper used to be connected with Lat 
*"*** * 'vine-leaf,' and M. may have accepted the etymology.' 
Really P*mp*r* of Old Low Germ, origin, being a nasalised form of 
the word which we get in p a pi Skeat mentions a Low Germ, vb 
slampampen, 'to live daintily.' 

wedded7 9 '/h AUuding . t0 the P rett y classical fan 'y of the vine being 
wedded to (because trained to grow up) the elm; cf. Horace, Od. iv 
5- 30, Epod. n. 9, I0 , Vergil, Georg. n. 367. M. in the Epitaphium 



Damonis, 65, speaks of the inntiba uva, and in Of Reformation in 
England, I., writes : " I am not of opinion to think the Church a vine in 
this respect, because, as they take it, she cannot subsist without 
clasping about the elm of worldly strength and felicity," P. W. n. 380. 
Cf. Fairfax's Tasso, ill. 76, "The married elm fell with his fruitful 
vine"; and xx. 99. 

221 23. There is the same allusion in IV. 167 71 (a passage 
which Tennyson "hated") to the story of Tobias and his victory over 
Asmodeus (one of the evil angels) as told in the Apocryphal Book of 
Tobit. Cf. The Hind and the Panther, ill. 75054: 

"Still thank yourselves, you cry; your noble race 
We banish not, but they forsake the place: 
Our doors are open. True, but ere they come, 
You toss your censing Test and fume the room; 
As if 'twere Toby's rival to expel, 
And fright the fiend who could not bear the smell." 
the sociable Spirit. Cf. vii. 41, " Raphael, The affable archangel," 
and XI. 234, where Adam says that Michael is not "sociably mild, 
as Raphael." The name means 'divine healer,' or 'health of 
God.' Raphael and Michael (who in bks. VI. and xi. is entrusted 
with high duties by the Almighty) are archangels, and therefore 
intermediaries between Heaven and earth. Addison considered that 
"the angels are as much diversified in Milton, and distinguished by 
their proper parts, as the gods are in Homer or Virgil." See XI. 234, 
235, note. 

230. what, i.e. whatsoever, as often in M. 

238. secure ; it implies a false feeling of security. 

248. after his charge received\ M. uses this Latin idiom often; 
see I. 573. 

249. Ardours^ i.e. Seraphim. "The poet, I suppose, only made 
use of this term to diversify his language a little, as he is forced to 
mention the word Seraph and Seraphim in so many places " (Thyer). 

254. self-opened ; suggested, perhaps, by Ezekiel'i. ; see vi. 749 
59 for an undoubted use of the Vision. 

2 57> 258. i.e. no cloud or star being interposed to obstruct his 
sight ; an absolute construction, however small ; qualifying star j but 
some connect it with Earth in 260. 

259. not unconform to y like to. 

261 63. Cf. the well-known passage in I. 28791. A similar 
but indirect reference to Galileo occurs in in. 588 90. Galileo died 
in 1642 ; "glass of Galileo" is only a general term for the instrument 
associated with his name. Cf. Pope, The Rape of the Lock, v. 137, 138 : 



" This Partridge soon shall view in cloudless skies, 

When next he looks thro' Galilaeo's eyes"; 
"this" being Belinda's lock, translated to the skies. 

264 66. He has just said that the earth, as it appeared from 
afar to the angel, resembled the regions in the moon as they appear 
to an astronomer ; now he compares it to the dim speck in the 
distance which the pilot perceives when first he comes within sight 
of an island. Strictly, Delos (see X. 296, note) was, and Samos was 
not, one of the circular group of islands in the yEgiean called Cyclades 
(from KIJK\OS, 'a circle'). 

The lines as they stand in the First Ed. have no commas. Some 
editors place a comma before kens, making cloudy spot the accusative 
and taking Delos... appearing as an absolute construction. It seems to 
me preferable to make Delos or Samos the object after kens with cloudy 
spot in apposition. 

269, 270. The metaphor is that of separating grain from the chaff; 
cf. Isaiah, xxx. 24, " clean provender, wh